M'luru airport authorities gear up to control laser lights

Cops to check on laser lights lux before giving licence to events around airport

 With the incidents of laser lights coming in the way of smooth taking off and landing of flights at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and International Airport in Chennai, the authorities at Mangaluru International Airport at Bajpe have sought the assistance from police in checking the usage of laser lights.

The authorities who have taken up the safety issues with Deputy Commissioner Dr K G Jagadeesha, also the chairman of Airfield Environment Committee, have exhorted the district administration to direct the police authorities in this regard.

Police Commissioner M Chandra Sekhar who confirmed to have received a missive from airport authorities told DH: “There are technical specifications on using and not using laser lights beyond particular capacity of lux) that will be enforced in keeping with the norms, issued by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.”

Airport Director J T Radhakrishna said, “Following the recent circular from Airports Authority of India (AAI) four months ago, it has been decided to strictly put in place the laser emitter control mechanism. The police, who issue permissions for events, have been directed to ensure that laser lights are not used by the organisers of such events, within 15 km radius of the airport.”

Radhakrishna said the vision of pilots was blinded for a while after coming in contact with the rays of laser light according to the recent incidents reported at airports elsewhere. Therefore, the airport authority is geared up to ensure that such incidents are not reported here, he added. 

Arokya Raj, safety officer at the airport, said, according to a notification issued by the government of India, there is a total ban on using laser lights in the vicinity of airports. It is essential to take such safety measures, as the area around runways, minimum four km to maximum 20 km should be free from any disruption, he observed.
The Mangaluru airport, started as an aerodrome six decades ago, has been developed as an international airport. It is one among the only two international airports in the state (The first one is Kempegowda International Airport at Devanahalli in Bengaluru).

Safety measures at the airport assumes paramount significance for the reason that it is also among the 11 airports found unsafe by the Directorate General of Civil Aviations (DGCA). The reason - it has a table top runway (ever since it was started in 1951) with landing approach facility close to the edge of the hill abutting the valley.

Following this, one more runway was added in 2006. However, that could not stop the airport from witnessing a gory mishap when 158 passengers onboard were killed after an Air India flight from Dubai skipped the tabletop runway, in March 2010.
More than 13,000 flight movements are recorded accounting for 1.67 crore passengers according to available statistics of 2015-16.

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