October 14, 2008

After 2 Months, IGI Parking Bays Getting Repaired Again

By Neha Lalchandani

NEW DELHI: Delhi's IGI airport's tarmac is considered worse than the city's main roads by those who use it. The tar on the tarmac area in front of parking bays 11 to 14 used to get so hot under the pressure of the aircraft, that it used to melt, causing the nose of the aircraft to dip. Not only is this a serious threat to passengers, it also caused serious damage to aircraft.

The tarmac was taken up for repair in July this year but two months down the line, maintenance work on needed to be restarted. Airlines claim that at first go, the work was probably not up to the mark which is why, two months later, work has restarted on exactly the same patch, right in front of the domestic arrival. At present, bays 11 and 12 are under repair and more will probably be taken up after these.

"The situation was extremely dangerous and we have not heard of it happening anywhere else. Running an aircraft on melted tar is extremely harmful for the aircraft and the management should realise they don't come cheap. Someone needs to find out how such a tarmac was created in the first place," said the spokesperson of a private airline.

Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd (DIAL) officials accepted that the work was being carried out due to several complaints by pilots and officials accepted the problem was genuine. They, however, did not comment on why such a situation had arisen.

When work was being carried out in July, DIAL had taken up four bays for the work and cordoned off a huge area in front of them. This not only blocked four important parking bays since they are the nearest to the arrival terminal, but also caused a problem for aircraft that had to access the bays behind it. "Our aircraft had to digress a great deal to reach the second line of parking bays. DIAL did not give us any prior information of the work, which went on for more than a month," said an airline official.

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