DGCA to probe Chennai airport fire
Chennai/New Delhi, Mar 12 : The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday said aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will investigate the cause of the fire that broke out at the Chennai airport's Air Traffic Control (ATC) room and affected the incoming as well departing flights for almost four hours in the morning.
According to the authorities, the fire broke out at around 2:20 am due to the burst of batteries of a UPS.
"An enquiry has been ordered by Ministry of Civil Aviation. DGCA has been directed to conduct the enquiry to identify the cause of the incident and suggest remedial measures and submit a report at the earliest," said the ministry in a statement.
"This morning at 0220 IST, maintenance personnel on duty in the technical equipment room of the Air Traffic Services (ATS) complex (3rd floor) sensed a burning smell and tried to identify its location; meanwhile, the UPS battery bank in the Technical Equipment room feeding power supply to Advance Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (ASMGCS) exploded.
"Fire engulfed the battery bank area. As the area is centrally air-conditioned, the smoke spread to the entire area of the Technical equipment room as well as the adjoining Area Control Centre," said the ministry.
The fire control officials on duty at ATS Complex and the other officials on duty also tried to extinguish the fire.
At this time, as part of preventive measures, power supply and air conditioning units of third floor were switched off.
As thick smoke continued to engulf the Area Control Centre, the officials on duty not being able to continue with operations implemented the Contingency Plan and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
"The air traffic was streamlined before vacating the ATS units at around 0230 IST. The airport fire services personnel brought the fire under control at 0245 IST.
"However, the Technical and Area Control Centres were still engulfed with thick smoke. After clearing the smoke, the power supply was restored at 0300 IST. There has been no damage to the equipment and the system," said the ministry.
The air traffic services were partially restored at 0500 IST by allowing the departures.
The system has been restored for normal operations at 0900 IST, said the ministry.
"Five international arrival flights were diverted, four to Bangalore and one to Hyderabad Airport between 0230 IST and 0500 IST. During this period, six departures were also delayed which had a cascading effect on 13 more departing flights," it said.