KOCHI: Despite discussions on inclusion and equality, women in leadership roles is a rare phenomenon. Moving beyond the ‘Add Women’ campaign, Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has facilitated women engineers to lead the runway re-carpeting work, opening new frontiers for women who dare to shoulder responsibilities.
As many as eight members of the engineering team that oversees the re-carpeting work are women. CIAL civil engineering department general manager Bini T I, assistant general managers TP Usha Devi, Mini Jacob, junior managers Pooja T S, Treesa Varghese, senior superintendents P P Sreekala, E V Jessy and Gincy M Paul are the leaders who oversee the strenuous project. A team of 20 women apprentices have also been deployed to help the team in coordinating the work.
The runway re-carpeting work, which started on November 20, is scheduled to be completed by March 29. The airport will remain closed from 10am to 6pm everyday during this period for re-carpeting. As many as 200 workers and 50 vehicles from contracting companies are involved in the re-carpeting of the runway, which is 3,400m long and 60m wide. Apart from this, the taxiway and five taxiway links are also being refurbished. “We visited stone quarries and bitumen mixing plants to ensure the availability and quality of materials used. We have to ensure the delivery of 1,500 tonnes of bitumen mixture everyday for 142 days. If the delivery is delayed, authorities will not be able to open the runway at 6pm. Hence, we began the project after detailed planning,” said Bini.
“The mixing plant starts functioning at 3am everyday. The trucks carrying the bitumen mix will start arriving by 10am. By 5.30pm we complete the works and ensure that the runway is ready for operation. As the first aircraft lands at 6pm, we have to complete security checking on time,” said Usha Devi. The runway is re-carpeted laying bitumen mixture in two layers that are seven centimetre and five centimetre thick respectively. Around 150m re-carpeting is completed daily. The height difference between the re-carpeted surface and the old surface can be dangerous for aircraft landing. Hence, the team ensures a slope by laying bitumen to a distance of seven metre. This temporary ramp is removed before starting work the next day.