The AAI has agreed to continue to provide on hire the Crash Fire Tender, which was given on loan basis to the Indian Navy, for a few more months.

The Navy, which mans the Air Traffic Control (ATC) at the Visakhapatnam airport, has only two CFTs at its disposal. Three CFTs are required to upgrade the ‘fire services category’ at the airport from ‘6’ to ‘7’. The Visakhapatnam – Dubai Air India flight (via Hyderabad) was launched on March 25 last year. Category ‘7’ is essential for operation of the large bodied aircraft like A-321.

In view of the urgency, AAI requisitioned one CFT from Hyderabad and gave it to the Navy on loan basis. The loan agreement had expired, but the Navy failed to acquire a third CFT. The AAI wanted to take back its CFT to Hyderabad.

Air Travellers’ Association (India) president D. Varada Reddy took the issue to the notice of MP T. Subbarami Reddy and the latter convinced the AAI authorities in New Delhi to extend the CFT loan facility by a few more months. The Navy is expected to procure its own CFT by March.