Saturday, August 12, 2023

AAI flags laser beam interference to pilots at Chennai airport

Last week, when a flight was about to land at Chennai airport, the pilot had a new challenge and difficulty owing to a major concert that was organised in the city.

The laser beams used for the concert were hitting the cockpit, causing a distraction for the pilot in what could be a potential safety hazard.

Officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said there had been a surge in the number of cases reported by pilots about laser beams interference when they arrive at the city airport from various destinations. Following this, AAI has written to the police to mitigate this issue at the earliest and sensitise the public.

In a letter, the AAI said: “Of late, such incidents are on the rise, which may interfere with the vision of the operating pilots and could cause distraction, confusion and temporary flash blindness during the critical phase of the flight, endangering the safety of aircraft and passengers on board.”

These incidents are reported by the pilots, particularly on the approach of runway 25 (St. Thomas Mount end). Earlier, they would only witness some isolated incidents but in the past month, there has been 7-8 such instances, an official said.

“They are facing these laser beam interferences from areas like Thirumudivakkam, Kotturpuram, Adyar, Besant Nagar, Kathipara Flyover, Guindy, Saidapet, Mylapore and Alwarpet. Be it a concert, wedding or any other event that happens in the open, laser beams are used by the event organisers,” an official said. In a few days, AAI is planning to reach out to event management associations and groups to find a solution to this issue, he added.

12/08/2023 Sunitha Sekar/The Hindu

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