Confusion prevails over the one-hour NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) issued at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport for taking up maintenance work on the 3,398-metre runway.
(NOTAM is a notice containing information concerning the establishment, condition or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations).
Although NOTAM has been in place for the past eight months, the announcement by the Station Manager of Air India (AI) that the IX 481 Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi-Dammam flight on Monday and Friday had been rescheduled till July 15 in view of the “closure of the runway” has irked the airport authorities.
A top official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said the airport had not been closed as stated by the AI Station Manager and only NOTAM had been issued. “The NOTAM is in place for the last eight months and we have extended it to complete the maintenance work,” he said.
The AAI said it had decided on a one-hour NOTAM from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. four days a week as it was a lean period when there were no flights. However, the AI Station Manager said the IX 481 that departed at 3.10 p.m. had been rescheduled to depart at 2.50 p.m. from the Thiruvananthapuram airport.
AAI sources said the maintenance work was long overdue and could not be completed owing to non-cooperation from the national carrier which took a long grounding time for the flights. This often occurred during flight operations on the Thiruvananthapuram-Male-Thiruvananthapuram sector. Many a time, maintenance could not be carried out during the NOTAM period owing to requests from the AI.
The AAI was of the view that national carrier took more grounding time compared to private airlines operating to the city.
During NOTAM, the AAI takes up maintenance of the entire airfield, navigation equipment, electrical gadgets, mechanical equipment, and painting work.