The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered the operators of major Indian airports to acquire disabled aircraft recovery kits (DARK).
The decision comes days after a SpiceJet Boeing 737-800 aircraft went off the runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai during heavy rain conditions.
As a result, the main runway of the airport was closed leading to the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
To thwart the reoccurrence of such incidents in the future, the DGCA ordered the airport operators of Bengaluru, New Delhi, and Mumbai to acquire DARK.
It also urged the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to purchase three DARK and deploy them at important airports. DARK will enable the airport operators to retrieve stuck aircraft.
The decision was taken by the DGCA director general Arun Kumar during a meeting attended by airport operators and other stakeholders.
An unidentified senior official of the DGCA told The Economic Times: “We cannot be the world’s third largest aviation market and not have the capability to retrieve an aircraft for 90 hours. We will soon have such equipment at six airports to avoid a repeat of long closures.”
“This will ensure that no airport is shut due to unavailability of equipment to take out the aircraft. The money spent will come under the airport operator’s revenue asset base, which would mean that they can recover the cost of the equipment through charges. Airport operators have agreed to this arrangement.”
One DARK is expected to cost up to Rs80m ($1.17m), which will be paid by the respective operator of the airport.
At present, national carrier Air India is the only carrier with a DARK in the country.