Reports of near-misses in Delhi untrue: Airport authority

May 20th, 2011 - 7:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Slamming recent media reports of alleged lapses committed by the air traffic control (ATC) at the international airport here, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) Friday said aviation operations in the national capital were the safest in the world.

The reaction by AAI came after reports that the Delhi ATC had given permission to a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to land even though an aircraft was present on the same runway it was supposed to land on.

“It was far away and had not received permission to land as we knew there was another plane on the runway. We are not blind or out of our mind to give this sort of permission,” a senior ATC official told IANS.

According to senior AAI officials, the two incidents on Wednesday and Thursday were caused by strong winds which prevented the landing of Jet Airways flight 9W309 from Mumbai and the Emirates flight EK516 from Dubai.

“If there is strong wind on the runway, we deny the approaching aircraft permission to land as it would cause major technical problems. This is all procedure which ensures safety, I do not understand why media is saying that by denying them landing we jeopardised the passengers safety,” V. Somasundaram, board member of the air navigation service (ANS) told IANS.

According to Somasundaram, an aircraft can only land or take off against the wind.

“An aircraft can not land with wind behind it. It has to land opposite the wind. We do not control wind, what we control is navigation and control, and due to this we are able to guide the pilot to land safely.”

The senior ATC official said that all such reports were part of a malicious campaign run by private airlines.

“A malicious campaign is being run against the ATC by some private operators, who want to save time by landing in the first go, even if it means disregarding safety procedures,” said the official.

Aviation expert also feel that ATC has done a commendable job while it has to take care of around 1,000 flights a day that include slower propeller-driven planes and helicopters which take longer to vacate the runway.

“Nowhere in the world ATC performs so perfectly than in India. Our airports just do not handle jet-powered aircraft alone, they also take care of slower propeller-driven aircraft and helicopters which are not allowed to land in other international airports as it disrupts regular operations,” said a top official with an international aviation consultancy.

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