Officials of AAI are also considering a different way of cleaning the glass in order to reduce the stress on them
Unlike the false ceiling, the glass panels at Chennai airport don’t need cats, pigeons or even a storm to rattle them up.
Just the way some staff cleans them, or sometimes, even without the apparent involvement of an external agency, the panels have cracked, nineteen times, so far. Passengers have escaped without injuries every single time.
Now, in a fresh attempt at addressing the problem, officials of Airports Authority of India (AAI) have decided to laminate the glass panels.
“Sometimes, when the glass panels are cleaned, some staff members step over the horizontal and vertical framework; it creates stress on the glass panels and weakens them. We are looking at a different method to clean them. Also, we will soon begin to laminate the glass panels in areas open to the public. Even if the panels crack, the pieces will stay intact and not fall,” an AAI official in New Delhi said.
In other areas used by officials and other staff, there will be railings to ensure they don’t go near the panels and touch them. This apart, canopies would be provided at the airport so that even if a glass panel falls, it wouldn’t injure passengers, he added.
“This is a worldwide phenomenon. Even in the T2 terminal in Mumbai, glass panels have broken. Here, only nineteen panels have collapsed. In fact, it is an accepted norm that 4.4 percent of them will crack,” the official said.
The terminals, built at a cost of over Rs. 2,000 crore as part of the Chennai airport expansion, have run into various engineering problems, according to experts.
While officials had earlier blamed it on the quality of glass, experts cited the possibility of engineering defects causing these issues.