Friday, May 24, 2024

“Grave” Fire Safety Violations Detected at Chennai’s Anna International Airport Terminal; Authorities Silent

By Staff Correspondent

Aviation safety experts are raising alarm over serious fire safety violations at the newly commissioned terminal at Anna International Airport in Chennai. They have claimed that the emergency exits in the terminal are “sealed,” leading to grave concerns about the safety of the facility.

According to reports, the security hold area of the international departure hall at the New Integrated Terminal Building has failed to comply with the mandated fire safety regulations. The issue has been brought to the attention of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and the airport’s director, yet none of the stakeholders have responded to inquiries.

Capt Singh, one of the safety experts who identified the problem, described the situation: “While EXIT signs have been installed, they lead to Emergency Access doors that have been sealed by installing sheets which cover the proposed exits from frame to frame.” Singh also drew a parallel with the Uphaar Cinema tragedy of 1997, where locked exits led to a high casualty rate.

Another prominent aviation safety expert, Mohan Ranganathan, who served on the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Committee (CASAC), corroborated Singh’s claims, pointing out violations where several EXIT gates are locked. Despite highlighting the issue on social media, Ranganathan expressed frustration at the lack of response, stating, “Unfortunately, even human tragedies do not wake up public authorities.”

It has been further explained that there are a total of eight fire exit doors at the newly commissioned terminal, and keeping them unlocked could compromise airport security. The apparent reluctance to deploy additional security personnel at these exit doors is cited as the reason for sealing them.

The situation at Anna International Airport underscores a broader issue of regulatory compliance and safety standards within India’s rapidly expanding aviation infrastructure. While the country’s aviation sector continues to grow, questions over the enforcement of safety norms and the response of authorities to critical concerns remain a pressing challenge.

The silence from the AAI, the airport director, and the Chennai fire department adds to the gravity of the situation. The lack of swift action and transparent communication raises questions about accountability and the commitment to passenger safety, which could have significant implications for the perception of India’s aviation industry, both domestically and internationally.

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