Several problems surround the extended portion of the secondary runway at the Chennai airport due to which it cannot be put to use immediately, said Capt. A. Ranganathan, Aviation Safety Consultant, here on Monday.
Listing various problems in the newly constructed portion, Capt. Ranganathan said the Airports Authority of India (AAI) could not install instrument landing system (ILS) as they were not be able to locate a place for installing the localiser antenna, which the AAI wanted to set up on the northern portion of the runway, near the Trident Hotel point. If they install the antenna there, its signals would be disrupted, leading to problems. Therefore, landing of aircraft from Kolappakkam side could only be a non-precision one.
A non-precision runway did not require an ILS. However, the AAI claimed that they need 15.67 acres of land to install ILS. But in reality it did not require the land and there was no need for clearing the houses from Maxworth Nagar, which were said to be obstructions, he said. In January this year, the AAI had prepared an obstacle chart, which also clearly showed the trees as the obstacles and not the houses in Kolappakkam.
No safety parameters
Talking about the lack of safety parameters under the bridge constructed across the Adyar, Mr. Ranganathan said anyone could go under it. “Anyone can do anything in that place, where there is no security,” Mr. Ranganathan said.
Another important aspect was that the AAI had failed to install sensors to monitor vibrations, corrosion and deterioration in the beams. The sensors should have been put inside the beams before they were being concreted. Similarly, the AAI had not done any practical validation on the safety of the structure. “Those who built the bridge across the Adyar have no previous experience in constructing a bridge across a river,” Mr. Ranganathan charged.
Similarly, the AAI had not obtained environmental clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. When the experts asked the AAI authorities to show the clearance from the Ministry, the AAI officials showed some other clearance obtained by them, Mr. Ranganathan said.
The accident track record at the Chennai Airport was another important concern. The record clearly showed that the AAI was unable to come to the rescue within the stipulated time, Mr. Ranganathan said, citing the examples of various accidents in which different types of aircraft were totally damaged in fire or other accidents.
The AAI authorities claimed that IIT-M was part of the architecture team for the bridge, but in reality the IIT-M was sent some designs which they cleared, and they were in no way connected with the project, according to Mr. Ranganathan.
Talking about the solution, Mr. Ranganathan said the solution could be to operate Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 aircraft in the extended portion of the secondary runway, which the AAI was already doing. So the extended portion is going to be of no use, he added.