The Delhi airport is sitting on a ticking bomb, an audit by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has found.
The DGCA had conducted the audit last year and the report, a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times, had recommended that a fuel facility of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) must be shifted.
The audit found that the BPCL fuel farm located near Terminal 1 is surrounded by aircraft parking stands. The area is part of the apron between runway 27/09 and runway 28/10.
“Having such installation in the middle of an active apron having continuous aircraft movements with passengers on board is considered unsafe and undesirable because of inherent risks involved with the kind of operations being undertaken there,” the audit report said.
Apron is the area where aircraft are turned around and loaded, etc.
“The jet blast caused by aircraft movement around the fuelling facility adds to that risk. At the end of the day, it will be the passengers who will suffer. We had a meeting with BPCL, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) representatives. BPCL and HPCL had agreed to relocate the facilities but DIAL was not able to provide them land,” a senior DGCA official said.
The underground tank of BPCL fuel facility has a total capacity of 510 kilolitres and the capacity of HPCL tank is 800 kilolitres.
The audit report also pointed to the fact that most of the VIP movement takes place from the same runway.
“The same taxi track connects to the ceremonial area of the airforce station at IGI airport and all head of states depart from this area,” the DGCA official added.
The audit further revealed that the distance between the centreline of taxiway and BPCL tank is 36.5 metres, which should be 42.5 metres.
In April 2011, DIAL issued eviction notices to HPCL and BPCL on DGCA’s instructions. BPCL filed a stay petition in the Delhi high court and the matter is pending before the court.
“BPCL, along with HPCL, have fuel storage tank at T-1 from the past 6o years. It is only after DIAL took over the Delhi airport, we were asked to shift out. The audit done by the DGCA raised safety concerns and we are ready to shift. Since till now the issue was not raised, we think probably DIAL want to use the space for some commercial purpose. The case is currently pending with the court and we assure people that we will do what is good for everyone,” a BPCL spokesperson said.
A DIAL spokesperson did not elaborate on the matter, saying the matter is sub-judice.
“DIAL had issued a notice to BPCL, following instructions from DGCA. BPCL has referred the matter to the Delhi High Court. The matter is sub-judice and we would not like to comment,” said a DIAL spokesperson.