They might appear to be minor issues – but an airport having two similarly named taxi ways, or grass blocking the pilot’s view of signages on the airfield are major safety hazards.
Several such preventive measures were discussed on the second day of the week-long safety training session for airport staff that started on Monday. Captain Daniel Maurino, a former safety expert with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the global policy maker for air safety, is conducting the workshop. “We are honing rough edges,” said Maurino.
Aviation professionals comprising air traffic controllers, aviation safety officers and airport staff from Mumbai, Bangalore and Kochi are attending the workshop.
“The participants are all seasoned professionals but there is no harm in foreseeing any possible danger,” added Maurino.
Having worked with the ICAO for more than two decades Maurino admits that safety challenges for airports have multiplied over the years, the biggest concern being the endless need to increase capacity, he said.
“I can’t think of a single airport in the planet that is not under construction,” said the pilot with more than 15,000 hours of flying experience. Mumbai airport, too, is in the process of expansion.
He added that often constructions companies with no aviation experience bag contracts to augment airfield capacity. “It is a challenge for an airport operator to manage massive construction activity without shutting down flight movement.”
Also, with big aircraft manufacturers making 10 jumbo planes a month safety issues will continue to test airports, he added.
The discussion also emphasised the need for surface movement radar, an issue that has bee pending nearly a year. Currently, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has acquired the device that will give air traffic controllers a better view of movements on the airfield but is awaiting approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for operations.