Monday, November 04, 2019

DGCA finds safety lapses in airline ground handling after nationwide audit

Mumbai: Directorate General of Civil Aviation has red-flagged ground handling agencies after a countrywide inspection found unsecured containers and foreign object debris in apron area of airports.
In August, the civil aviation regulator had initiated an audit of ground handling companies and a safety checklist too was issued to prevent accidents.
Inspections carried out at Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Lucknow and Thiruvanathapuram airports revealed that domestic airlines and their ground handlers are neglecting safety. One common observation at these airports was about the presence of foreign object debris in the apron. Also, containers and baggage trolleys were found unsecured. In some cases, the brakes of trolleys were found unserviceable. Containers lying loose or foreign objects are a safety hazard and can cause injuries or damage.

During one inspection in Delhi, trolleys were observed moving on fuel hydrants, which is not permitted. In another inspection, it was found that staff did not have pre-arrival checklists. In Lucknow, the inspectors found wing walkers were not available at the time of aircraft arrival. These are ground employees whose primary task is to see aircraft wingtips do not collide with other planes or vehicles. Also, the staff of the Airport Authority of India was found roaming without high-visibility jackets.

The audits covered operations of ground handlers such as Air India Air Transport Services Limited, Bhadra International, Bird Worldwide Flight Services and Celebi Aviation. Domestic airlines are allowed self-handling and their operations were checked too.
04/11/19 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard
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