AHMEDABAD: It has been a 'happening' week at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport. After a close shave for 66 passengers aboard an Air India Mumbai-Ahmedabad flight, another incident has cut into the passenger safety claims of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
A pilot of a private chartered flight has filed a complaint with Ahmedabad air traffic control department that a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) official flashed a torch while he was landing early in the morning. He said that the light confused him for a few seconds as it made it difficult to identify the runway. In air navigation, runway periphery lights play a critical role and even street lights and lightbulbs around the airport area are covered from above.
"During their routine security check, CISF officials generally flash lights at distant areas around the runway. Last Tuesday at 1.30 am, a CISF official by mistake flashed a torch towards an incoming flight. The pilot later complained to air traffic control officials that the glare made it difficult to judge the runway's position while landing. The CISF official was warned after the incident," said a city airport official.
Confirming the incident, Ahmedabad airport director R K Singh said, "The incident was brought to our notice and the official procedure was followed."
Senior CISF officials said that no personnel flash torches during take-offs or landings, but we have been informed about the incident last week and taken the possible action. Also last week, an Air India flight was given permission to even as a jeep was still on the runway.
"At 7.35 am, an Air India flight was given permission to land. Soon after the pilot touched ground he spotted a jeep on the runway and applied emergency brakes and a major tragedy was averted. The runway incursion incident happened due to gross negligence of two ATC tower officials and a report has been sent to Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)," said a senior airport official.
Sources said that the ranking for the two officials will be suspended as per the punitive action and they will be sent for corrective training for 15 days.