6 major airports to get aircraft recovery kits: Directorate General of Civil Aviation

Mumbai: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked the airport operators to acquire aircraft recovery kits after the July 2 incident, in which a SpiceJet aircraft overshot the main runway at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA). The incident had led to the partial closure of the airport for 90 hours and cancellation of hundreds of flights.

The DGCA took the decision on Tuesday in a meeting chaired by its director general Arun Kumar. According to a senior DGCA official, the move was initiated to ensure that every airport has a Disabled Aircraft Retrieval Kit (DARK) in place to avert such incidents. “Currently, only Air India, the national carrier, has DARK, but not other airlines. That’s why the aviation regulator has asked the airport operators to acquire aircraft recovery kits.”

An official said the process to acquire six sets of retrieval equipment was on and these would be kept at the six main commercial airports. “The aviation regulator has asked operators of Bengaluru, New Delhi and Mumbai airports to buy one DARK each. The Airports Authority of India will buy three systems and station them at major airports to avoid long closures of runways,” a DGCA official said.

On Wednesday, the Bombay HC sought information from civil aviation ministry on preventive steps and systems put in place to ensure passenger safety. It directed the ministry and DGCA to file responses by August 7, when the matter will be heard.

The HC order states, “We would expect the director general of civil aviation and the ministry to enlighten us what preventive measures, if any, have been taken till date, and whether existing systems have been upgraded to meet such exigencies.”

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