In what has become a routine occurrence at Chennai airport, a glass panel crashed on Sunday, sending passengers into panic mode.
No one was injured in the incident, police sources said.
The incident occurred just a few minutes past 9 a.m., when passengers were entering the departure hall of the domestic terminal. A glass panel measuring 6X3 feet fell from a height of nearly 30 feet, the sources added.
The airport has been modernised at a cost of over Rs. 2,000 crore but several problems continue to plague it. Ever since the new terminals were commissioned, there have been several reports of panels from the false ceilings as well as glass panels collapsing. Over the past year, over ten such incidents have been reported.
No passenger has been injured but the general safety of the premises has come under question.
“Sometime back, we conducted an investigation, wherein AAI engineers and authorities from Saint Gobain said a certain percentage of glass may break in huge constructions and the incidents here are well within the limit. Kolkata airport, in fact, had seen more such incidents,” an AAI official said.
The glass panels are replaced as and when they are damaged, he added.
Earlier, officials from Airports Authority of India had suggested there may be impurities in the glass manufactured by Saint Gobain that may have caused the cracking and breaking of the panels. But, Saint Gobain officials later told The Hindu, not only impurities, but stress on glass during the process of fixing the panels may also have led to such incidents.
A structural engineering expert from IIT-Madras said, “There is no way that impurities alone crack a glass panel. There are several tests being carried out at Structural Glass Research Testing Facility at IIT-Madras to show what kinds of glass are fit for use in a human habitat. One of the possibilities, which usually cause such incidents, is an engineering defect.”