iconimg Saturday, September 05, 2015

Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 26, 2013
Parking bays at the Mumbai airport are poorly-lit, posing a safety hazard to flight movement, according to a recent surveillance by the aviation safety regulator.

Airport sources said  the audit, conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) found the lux value – a unit used to measure illumination – to be poor at a few parking spaces.

The audit, which checked illumination levels at randomly selected parking bays, said that the lighting was below the levels set by the United Nation’s aviation watchdog. Indian airports and airlines are bound by these standards, as the country is a member of a body called the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

“The airport has now been asked to take lux reading at all the parking bays and submit a report,” said an airport official.

A Mumbai International Airport Limited, spokesperson, however, said the illumination was below prescribed standards only at one bay. “One bay had poor lux value because the light pole adjoining it had height restrictions.” 

The poor illumination at airports could be dangerous, particularly during bad weather, sources said. “Navigation at airports such as Mumbai gets extremely difficult during monsoon. Poor illumination could worsen the problem,” said an Airbus commander with a private airline.

Commenting on the findings, Arun Mishra, chief, DGCA, said: “We will ask the airport to take corrective action.”

The city airport had earlier come under the safety scanner over lapses in runway standards during an ICAO audit in December. The audit found that the secondary runway did not have adequate safety area mandatory to protect aircraft when they overshoot the airstrip.

It also found the  main runway did not have the required 300-metre width for its full length. The airport operator has sought time till August to make the corrections.