Airport officials not to blame for Sunday mishap: minister

June 2nd, 2008 - 10:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) Terming the death of a Ukrainian national in a bus accident at Delhi airport as “unfortunate”, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel Monday, however, sought to downplay it and said the incident should not be “blown out of proportion”. “Such incidents can happen at any airport. We are concerned about it. It should not have happened. It was unfortunate,” Patel told reporters here, a day after the Ukrainian was killed and three others injured when a bus hit them at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) in the wee hours Sunday.

“You cannot blame the airport officials. It happened outside the airport terminal,” the minister asserted.

The accident occurred around 1 a.m. Sunday when a bus rammed into a group of passengers while they were unloading their luggage outside the international terminal.

There have been several similar accidents earlier at the IGI Airport but Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), the company developing the IGI Airport, has largely failed to address the safety of air passengers and airport employees.

A week ago, a Jet Airways employee died after being hit by a DIAL ambulance, while on March 27, a 30-year-old airport worker was crushed to death under a bulldozer. Last October, Sanskriti Sinha, 27, an Air Deccan engineer, was found dead between the airport’s taxiway and the ramp.

The spokesperson for DIAL, Arun Arora, claimed several initiatives have been taken for airside safety, including restricting the movement of buses ferrying passengers, flight crews and airport employees at the departure and arrival terminals.

“We will soon have improved airside signage, new runway guard lights and better lighting on the airside, all conforming to ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation)standards,” Arora said.

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