Airport Authorities at Fault

JULY 2006: Airport security administration carelessly allows a man to board the airplane who was found with bomb components later.

SEPTEMBER 2007: Strangers gained entry into the airport without passports.

APRIL 2008: Kingfisher Airlines flight hits a stray dog on the runway.

MAY 2008: Woman found poisoned on flight.

MAY 2008: A couple crosses the runway to go to their workplace and no one was present to caution them.

This is what has been happening at India’s top most airports. These are the recent activities that have caught the attention of the media but Airport Authorities seemed to have turned a blind eye to them. They must realize that prompt action is required. Runway accidents are nothing new. Recently, a traffic manager was crushed under one of the service vehicles on the runway. Also, a wrong plane was found on the runway at the IGI airport. When will these incidents end? The authorities are themselves unaccountable. A story published on May 5, 2008, described how a pilot of an international airline decided to swing to the main runway, where another plane was to land, without waiting for any clearance. Fortunately, the officials took notice of the incident and cautioned the pilot. Although any untoward accident was prevented, yet this is just one of the many happenings that take place regularly at the airports. We can’t afford to turn a deaf ear, can we?

And this is not all. What would your reaction be if you see people living in the adjoining areas using the runway as a normal road to go to their workplace? This is something really serious. Flights take off and land within a second’s margin and once a flight is ready to take off or land, under no condition can it be averted. Negligence can end someone’s life and this is exactly what happened with the traffic manager at the runway.

Recently, a flight belonging to Kingfisher Airlines crash landed at Bangalore airport. This is not a minor incident which can be overlooked. The story is something like the airplane hitting an animal on the runway leading to the slipping of the plane tyre and ultimately to the crash. This is not the first time that an incident has occurred due to negligence of the presence of animals on the runway. Though the incident did not result in casualties, two of the passengers were injured. Now this shows utter slipshod attitude of the authorities. Certainly, action has to be taken. For the authority’s kind information , this incident took place in March 2008 and three more incidents have taken place after that. What more evidence do we need to prove the negligence of the airport authorities? From such major incidents to bad conditions at the airport, everything is clear. The time requires action and it has to include suspension of sloppy officials.

After all, these have led to adverse effects on tourism and hospitality of the country. Traveling has become scary. Airports provide the first impression of a country. But if the conditions remain the same it would work against our interests. Let us not forget, our country is a developing country and all it needs to do to be fully developed is effective management, without which we will make no headway. It is time to put ourselves into action mode and leave no stone unturned to make it one of the most respectable countries in the world.

Shelly Mahajan

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