Despite crashes, no aerobridges at Delhi’s domestic airport

June 2nd, 2008 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) With no aerobridges planned at Delhi airport’s domestic terminal in the immediate future, there is no guarantee against accidents like the one Sunday when a Ukrainian national was crushed by a bus as he was unloading his luggage. The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), the company developing the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, says the infrastructure at the domestic terminal does not support the facility for aerobridges.

“The height of the domestic terminal doesn’t support aerobridges,” DIAL spokesperson Arun Arora said. “These cannot be installed here immediately.”

Aerobridges are chutes linking an aircraft to the departure or arrival terminal. Air travellers walk through these to board or get off a plane, and this ensures their on-ground safety.

Arora said 84 aerobridges would be installed at the international terminal (T3) by 2010, but regular air passengers are concerned over the domestic terminal being given the go-by.

“The movement at the domestic terminal is much more than at the international terminal,” said a frequent air traveller. “There is a severe lack of planning. You have aerobridges even at greenfield airports in at Bangalore and Hyderebad,”

Early Sunday, a Ukrainian national was killed and three people were injured when a bus hit them, making it the latest in a raft of accidents at the IGI Airport.

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

DIAL claims it has taken several initiatives for the airside safety, including restricting the movement of buses ferrying passengers, flight crews and airport employees at the departure and arrival terminals. Drivers are being trained and speed governors being installed.

Additionally, railings have been installed at the drop-off area to ensure people seeing off or receiving passengers do not unnecessarily crowd the terminals. DIAL has also appointed over 40 airside monitoring inspectors to ensure people adhere to rules and regulations.

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

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