Chennai airport will have to clear tough DGCA test

Two months after issuing a show-cause notice that critical areas at Chennai airport were not being maintained as per standards, Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officials will conduct a detailed audit of the airport on Thursday.

For the first time, the DGCA will look at the implementation of a new regulation wherein the staff entering the tarmac will be checked to ensure they are not under the influence of alcohol.

Officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said the audit will essentially focus on checking the friction level of the runway and other issues involved with the safety of the tarmac.

Emergency response

The DGCA authorities will hold a meeting with AAI on the procedures to follow in case of an emergency or crisis. “For instance, recently in Mumbai, a SpiceJet aircraft skidded off the main runway, putting hundreds of lives at risk. After that, the DGCA wants an airport operator (like AAI) to see how such a situation can be handled, how the aircraft should be removed from the runway and other safety procedures,” an official said.

“The audit comes following a show-cause notice that was issued two months ago to Chennai airport by DGCA when they observed that some of the critical areas were not being maintained as per standards,” another official said. Meanwhile, under the new rule, the ground staff at the airport will be checked to ensure they are not under the influence of alcohol before they enter the tarmac.

“So far, only pilots had to go through this test. But, now all ground staff will be subjected to it. It will greatly help to ensure that everyone in the air side, like the staff who are engaged in driving vehicles in the tarmac, is not drunk. It will be a safety hazard if they drink and drive,” the official said.

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