An officers' association has written to Airports Authority of India (AAI) top bosses over the poor functioning of radars at many airports in the country, highlighting the risk this poses to people's safety.
Radars are important tools of aircraft navigation system and any failure or error on their part at any busy airport can have a cascading effect the world over.
Falling of radar antenna at Delhi airport just by a moderate wind of less than 50 knots on June 13 prompted the association to write to AAI.
The association, identifying itself as Airport Authority Officer's Association (AAOA), said officials at Delhi airport had brought the incident to the notice of radar manufacturer ELDIS, about the malfunctioning of antenna in hardware as well as software. "At a point of time, it (the radar) stopped rotating but the machine (erroneously) logged its rotation. As a result, on display, it appeared normal," said YP Gautam, AAOA general secretary. ELDIS officials were unavailable for comment. Also, GS Bawa, AAI spokesperson, did not respond to dna's calls.
Insiders claimed this is not the only case of radar malfunctioning at country's airports. "The recent fire accident in Chennai occurred due to malfunctioning UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply). This damaged a radar, which is now being replaced with a new one," said a senior official from the department.
Similarly, the radar at Kochi airport too has been giving authorities cause for concern due to the vibrations it emits while rotating. Sources at Mumbai airport said that here too the radars had minor glitches.
Warning the authorities concerned, the association's members said, "The level of promptness and misreporting of machine logs can't be trusted and an earnest initiative from ELDIS is needed so that after the equipment is commissioned, no such glitches recur."
In the letter, they have also raised the issue of lack of manpower to monitor the increasing air traffic.