The new Chennai airport — built by the Airports Authority of India at a cost of over Rs. 2,000 crore — has a new problem: cracking glass panels.

According to airport sources, close to 10 glass panels at the new domestic and international terminals had to be replaced after they developed cracks. The bad news is that officials do not rule out more such cracks in future.

‘No safety threat’

“The panels that had cracked were on the airside of the new terminals. Though they were replaced with new ones, this problem may occur in future too. However, this will not compromise the safety of either passengers or flight operations,” said an AAI official. When asked whether the use of inferior quality glass could have contributed to the cracks, the official said the panels were of superior quality and were imported from France.

Airport director H.S. Suresh said, “The cracks may have been caused by contraction and expansion in the glass frames due to weather changes. There may also have been a problem with the sealant used in the frames.”

But experts say this needs to be resolved at the earliest. “In the Kolkata airport too, many glass panels had developed cracks. It is hard to nail the problem to one cause, unless we analyse the nature of the crack. Cracked panels are likely to be dangerous in populous [crowded] areas such as airports,” said an expert from Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute in Kolkata.

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