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‘Study needed to assess aircraft damage at IGI’

A detailed study is required to ascertain the causes which led to five aircraft being damaged at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport due to the thunderstorm that shook the capital on Friday.

R K Jenamani, director-in-charge, IGI Met, said, “This was the strongest storm in eight years. It was in 2006 last that we had faced thunder squalls of a similar scale. The wind had blown at 140 km/hr and the speed was 78 knots but there were no damages at the time.” He added that a study is required to assess if the scale of current operations at the airport and the size of the aircraft parked had resulted in the damages.

One person died, five aircraft were damaged and more than 25 domestic as well as international flights were diverted in one of the severest thunder squalls to be seen at IGI airport on Friday evening. Winds blowing at 114km/hr swept away the aircraft’s step-ladders, which smashed against the cockpits and damaged them.

The turbulence on the ground kept many flights from landing or taking off between 4pm and 6pm on Friday. Around 10 flights were delayed.

Airport sources said a member of the cleaning staff, Pradeep, was killed. His body has been sent for post-mortem to determine the cause of death.

The five aircraft damaged included two of SpiceJet, one of Air India, one of GoAir and one of Bluedart. Most of the aircraft were damaged near the cockpit by the step-ladders attached to the doors.

Earlier on May 10, strong winds with a speed of over 90 km/hr at the airport had displaced an aircraft of Ethiopian Airlines from its position. The aircraft was dragged by a few feet and its cockpit was damaged by the stepladder, which was swept away and hit the body of the aircraft.

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