Ghatkopar plane crash: Tall buildings near airports fatal

Aviation safety activist Yeshwanth Shenoy says tall buildings, especially around the Mumbai airport, obstruct flight operations and endanger people’s lives

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | June 30, 2018 | Mumbai


#King Air C90   #airport safety   #aviation   #Yeshwanth Shenoi   #Mumbai plane crash   #Ghatkopar plane crash   #aircraft  
Yeshwanth Shenoy,  lawyer and aviation safety activist (Photo: Facebook/YeshwanthShenoy)
Yeshwanth Shenoy, lawyer and aviation safety activist (Photo: Facebook/YeshwanthShenoy)

As the preliminary inquiry report into the chartered plane crash in Ghatkopar on June 28 is still awaited, a lawyer and aviation safety activist says that airspace around every airport in India has been ruined in the last 10 years. Yeshwanth Shenoy also warns that the buildings around airports pose a huge problem in the immediate future. 

 
A 12-seater King Air C90 charter aircraft crashed in Ghatkopar killing five people. This is the third fatal air crash in Maharashtra since the beginning of this year. 
 
“There is not a single airport in India where airspace is not encroached upon by buildings. Mumbai is the worst. With tall buildings in the entire Mumbai city, especially around the airport, flight operations tend to get obstructed and pose danger to peoples lives. Delhi is equally bad,” says Shenoy.
 
Shenoy has written three books and has been fighting for aviation safety since 2010 when an Air India Express plane crashed at the Mangalore airport killing 158 people. Coincidently, Shenoy got involved in the case. Initial investigations revealed negligence of the pilot for the crash. But Shenoy’s research further revealed negligence on the part of Airport Authority of India (AAI), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Air India. 
 
In 2014, Shenoy filed PIL No. 86 in Bombay high court against AAI, ministry of civil aviation, DGCA and Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) to stop construction of buildings around the airport. As a result, in 2016, the Bombay HC stayed construction of all new buildings and ordered DGCA to complete formalities for demolition of 460 buildings around the airport. 
 
“Later a new bench dismissed the 2016 petition order saying that when the petition was filed in 2014, rules of 2010 were in place. As per new rules of AAI in 2015 the petition is dismissed and a fresh petition can be filed under new rules,” says Shenoy adding, “Within the next 15 days, AAI gave permission to 60 new buildings in the same area where the 12-seater plane crashed in Ghatkopar on June 28.”
 
Shenoy’s PIL has revealed multiple layers of corruption and loose functioning at different levels in the aviation ministry and airport operations.
 
“This accident [Ghatkopar crash] is a case of pure corruption. If an Airbus or a Boeing had crashed on Thursday it would have been catastrophic with 10,000-15,000 dead bodies,” he says. 
 
Permission for construction of any building within 20 kms radius of the airport and its height is given by the AAI. The NOC is given by regional offices up to international certification. Appeals outside the purview of AAI go to Appellate Committee of Height Clearances and consists of representatives each from MoCA , DGCA and AAI. “It is just not possible to complain against any of these organisations to the committee,” he says.
 

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