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Kolkata Airport appeals against DGCA’s decision to impose fine

“The safety violations that have been flagged are not too serious in nature or something that indicates gross violations and poses a massive risk to flight safety. The concerns flagged by the DGCA have been noted and we have appealed against the decision. Presently, we cannot divulge much detail on the matter and are awaiting a response.”

Soumyadip Mullick | Kolkata |

The authorities of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport, Kolkata, has appealed against the decision of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to impose a fine of Rs. 20 lakh on the airport for alleged violation of runway safety norms due to ill maintenance of the runway.

After reports came to light that the DGCA, in its audit, has discovered an alleged violation of runway safety norms by the Kolkata airport and subsequently imposed a fine of Rs. 20 lakh, sources in the Kolkata airport told The Statesman that the airport authorities have appealed against this decision of the DGCA and is waiting for a reply.

According to the DGCA audit report, the maintenance of the runway at the airport was reportedly not carried out in adherence to the prescribed guidelines. Citing a violation it was alleged that runway lights were improperly fixed while Foreign Object Debris (FOB) was found on the runway. The DGCA has reasons to believe that it posed threat to take off/landing of an aircraft on the airport’s runway. The Kolkata airport has been served a show-cause notice for alleged violation of safety norms.

However, sources in the Kolkata airport today told The Statesman that the airport authorities have already appealed against the DGCA notice. An official, requesting anonymity, said “The runway undergoes thorough maintenance and there are runway safety checks performed fortnightly by a committee which includes airport officials and commercial airline pilots.”

“The safety violations that have been flagged are not too serious in nature or something that indicates gross violations and poses a massive risk to flight safety. The concerns flagged by the DGCA have been noted and we have appealed against the decision. Presently, we cannot divulge much detail on the matter and are awaiting a response.”

Commenting on the charge of foreign objects on the runway posing threat to safety, the official said that it is rare but possible at times that foreign objects find their way to the runway but “we perform regular checks and remove any such objects if discovered on the runway.” FOD includes a wide range of materials, including loose hardware, pavement fragments, construction materials, rocks, sand, pieces of luggage, and even wildlife.

It may be noted that the Kolkata airport, in a bid to further strengthen runway safety, recently implemented a Global Reporting Format (GRF) a new ‘Runway Condition Code- for improving reporting of runway condition. This notifies pilots about any significant change in runway condition which helps them to decide to land or take off, accordingly. The airport has announced that the initiative was taken at the instruction of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).