Wednesday, March 14, 2012

KUWAIT: Airport landing system malfunctions

 A malfunction in a main landing system at Kuwait International Airport is the reason many aircrafts fail to land due to low visibility during sandstorms and other bad weather, says a report published yesterday.

“The instrument landing system (ILS) at the airport is outdated and has been malfunctioning for nearly a year,” said the source who preferred to keep his identity anonymous.

“The problem with the system usually appears during bad weather conditions such as sandstorms when many pilots are not able to land due to low visibility”.

The ILS is part of a limited visibility landing system used in many airports around the world to assist pilots to land during low visibility such as in fog and sandstorms.

“The Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) received notice from the manufacturing company a long time ago that spare parts for the current ILS system at Kuwait International Airport are no longer manufactured”, the source said. “The DGCA is yet to request a new system since then”.

Due to the inactivity of the system, pilots resort to an approach lighting system to locate the runway during sandstorms; something the source called a “risky maneuver”.

The same source said the VHF Omni-directional Range (VOR) system; a navigation system that enables aircrafts to determine their position and stay on course, also malfunctions.

A Lufthansa airplane had to land in Dammam, Saudi Arabia earlier this month. The pilot failed to land at Kuwait International Airport during a sandstorm due to errors in the landing system. — Al-Rai


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