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300 flights to be affected due to work at Mumbai airport

Friday, October 12, 2018
By Raju Vernekar

Emergency evacuation vehicle inducted at the airport

The movement of nearly 300 flights will be affected due to maintenance work of primary and secondary runways, to be carried out in phases at the Mumbai airport till ensuing March, even as Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), inducted the Emergency Evacuation Vehicle (EEV) on Sunday.

The GVK-run Mumbai airport will undertake repairs to runway 09/27 (primary) and 14/32 (secondary) between 11.00 am and 5.00 pm on October 23, followed by all Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between February 7 to March 30 (except March 21) between 11.00 am and 5.00 pm. During this period the runways will be shut. As a result nearly 300 flights are expected to be affected, official sources said.

The primary runway can handle 50 arrivals and departures per hour, while the secondary runway handles 35 flights per hour. Both the runways handle 1000 flights a day on an average. The airport handles over 1.5 lakh passengers with over 950 aircraft everyday.

Meanwhile, MIAL has inducted India's first EEV which can extend up to a height of 8.3 metres with the escape stairs capable of holding 115 people at one time. This is an attempt to make access to an aircraft faster during emergencies. The EEV has a response time of just two minutes to anywhere in the airport vicinity.

The Mumbai International Airport becomes the first in the country to get such an advanced evacuation vehicle that can access even the largest of passenger aircraft including the Airbus A380 – the largest civilian aircraft in operation at present. This is the seventh emergency evacuation vehicle at the airport, but offers better access to the aircraft and can speed up the evacuation process during an emergency.

The EEV is built on a MAN chassis by Austrian fire-service manufacturer Rosenbauer. The truck comes with extendable escape stairs that can reach up to a height of 8.3 metres, equal to that of the Airbus A380. The evacuation staircase has been designed to withstand up to 40 knots of wind speeds, while the extension time is just 55 seconds. The EEV is also equipped with a high-pressure smoke ventilation system and is capable of holding up to 115 people at once.

The EEV is intended to act as a back-up vehicle in case the internal evacuation system on the aircraft fails to work. The evacuation vehicle, with its wider frame and anti-skid floor, makes for a safe and effective way to extract passengers in an emergency. The closed side panels on the entire stair and platform area increase safety and prevent fear of falling.

A simple user interface makes it possible for all actions to be controlled by one person, while a roof monitor offers visibility up to 90 metres. The EEV can also be used in case the cabin crew is not in a condition to process the evacuation procedure. In such a case, firefighters can gain faster access to the aircraft using the vehicle. The vehicle is the only one of its kind at the Mumbai Airport Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Department that can access the tail engine in case of a fire.

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