New Delhi: In the backdrop of increasing incidents of on-ground accidents, the aviation watchdog -- Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) -- has decided to conduct the safety audit of airside activities on a quarterly basis with the first audit to be conducted after two months.
The DGCA has developed a detailed checklist to benchmark safety standards on the airside of the airport.
"In order to regulate the airside activities and to reduce the ground incidents for the safe operation of aircraft, DGCA has decided to conduct the safety audit of airside activities quarterly. First safety audit based on the checklist will be conducted after two months. It is expected that Airport operators shall ensure the compliance of safety standards laid down in the enclosed checklist," reads the DGCA order to all airport operators.
"It will go a long way in improving the safety on the airside. After two months, we will conduct a periodic audit to ensure compliance," said Arun Kumar, Director-General, DGCA.
"As Indian airports are getting busier in view of the exponential growth in civil aviation, the number of ground incidents at Indian Airports involving aircraft are also increasing. Since January 2019, at Delhi Airport, seven such ground incidents have been reported involving various aircraft," reads the order.
"In two cases, engines of the aircraft were hit by the ground power unit, in one case by a ladder and in another case by a toilet cart. Similarly, in Mumbai, one aircraft was hit by a ground tractor, another by an empty container trolley and the third by a flying container because of the strong winds and it was not properly tied," further states the order.
"In Hyderabad, Chennai, Trichy, Cochin, Tirupati, Rajkot and some other airports, similar incidents have been reported. In order to curb such incidents, the DGCA has developed a detailed checklist to benchmark safety standards on the airside of the airport," reads the order.
The checklist details the ground facilities checks, which include ground servicing equipment, passenger boarding bridge, condition of apron/ marking/lighting, availability of foreign object debris bins, and so on.
Similarly, to regulate the movement of vehicle in the airside, the checks include fitness of vehicle as well as the fitness of drivers and their knowledge with regard to the geography of aerodrome, aerodrome signs, marking, lighting, radiotelephony operating procedures, terms and phrases used in airside operations, adequate training of driving/ operating the relevant vehicle/equipment and the training of the employees working at airside.
The checklist also includes aircraft turnaround and general safety procedures such as Aircraft Fuelling, Pushback, Towing, Marshalling, Mooring and Handling of Arrival and Departure of the Aircraft.