Major airports asked to carry runway friction test every week
The move has come following series of cases where plane skidded off the runway and in one of the case, SpiceJet plane got stuck at the main airport of the runway for four days, affecting the travel plans of many.Updated: Aug 06, 2019 22:02 IST
Major airports of the country have been asked to carry runway friction test at least once in a week and most of them have been asked to do the test once in two weeks.
The move has come following series of cases where plane skidded off the runway and in one of the case, SpiceJet plane got stuck at the main airport of the runway for four days, affecting the travel plans of many.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a circular on Tuesday, asking the airports handling more than 210 aircraft per runway per day to do the friction test once in a week while those handling 151 to 210 aircraft, will have to do the friction test once in two weeks.
During an audit last year, the DGCA found that at some airports the runway friction values were found below minimum level requirement, which according to experts lead to skidding of plane.
“If the runway friction value is less then it is unsafe to operate during monsoon,” said a aviation ministry official.
Following this, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) went for the bulk order of rubber removal machines and runway friction tester for government run airports across the country. To maintain the runway surface friction value in check and remove rubber deposits on the runway, these two devices are crucial and against the earlier practice of using one machine for many airports in rotation, the AAI is trying to have one machine for every busy airport to start with.
“The surface condition of a runway has a major safety impact on aircraft operations, in particular on aircraft landing performance. Low friction levels and contaminated runway surface can result in aircraft overruns and run off incidents. When it is suspected that a runway has become slippery under other than normal wet conditions, or due to unusual surface conditions, additional friction measurement should be conducted by airport operator,” the DGCA said in the circular.
The number of aircraft with scheduled airlines in India is 620 as on July 31, 2018, up from 448 in March 2016. India’s 17 scheduled airlines operated 9.22 lakh flights in 2017-18, up from 8.1 lakh from previous year. International aircraft movement was 3.79 lakh in 2017-18 against 3.45 lakh in 2016-17.