Doubts over air safety at Devanahalli airport
Bangalore: For an airport that was to commence operations in March, now postponed to May, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) facility ought to have been up and running. Instead, on a mid-March morning, just six weeks away from the date of commissioning of the airport, chaos reigns at the ATC facility at the international airport in Devanahalli.
Highly skilled controllers, instead of working at their consoles, are counting tables and chairs and discussing the blinds that should be put on the windows to prevent light from falling directly on the screens that will monitor traffic at the airport.
That the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) missed the March deadline is well known, but has it also cut corners? Controllers are apprehensive about air safety at the new airport.
In response to a specific question posed by The Hindu about employees’ apprehension that a single lift at the ATC may compromise safety, Albert Brunner, CEO of BIAL, said, “Care has been taken to ensure that safety standards are met as per international standards.” He said the various buildings within the airport “have been built after taking approvals from the respective authorities.”
Controllers at Devanahalli also said the runway lacked central lights, which are embedded along the centre of the runway, to aid visual navigation by pilots as they land or take off.