Friday, July 12, 2019

Regulator asks major airports to acquire aircraft recovery kits

New Delhi: Perturbed by the partial closure of Mumbai airport for about four days after a SpiceJet aircraft overshot the runway into the mud, leading to the cancellation of hundreds of flights, the aviation regulator has asked airport operators to buy additional equipment to retrieve stuck aircraft.
“We cannot be the world’s third largest aviation market and not have the capability to retrieve an aircraft for 90 hours,” said a senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation official who did not want to be identified. “We will soon have such equipment at six airports to avoid a repeat of long closures.”
The decision was taken on Tuesday at a meeting chaired by DGCA director general Arun Kumar and attended by airport operators and other stakeholders.
Currently, the country has only one Disabled Aircraft Recovery Kit, or DARK, which is owned by national carrier Air India and is also used at airports in neighbouring countries.
The aviation regulator has asked the airport operators of Bengaluru, New Delhi and Mumbai to buy one each and the Airports Authority of India to buy three of them and station them at key airports.
“This will ensure that no airport is shut due to unavailability of equipment to take out the aircraft,” said the official. The official added that the cost of the equipment is ?6-8 crore and will have to be borne by the airport operators.
12/07/19 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times
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