NEW DELHI: An otherwise peaceful airport, Lucknow is currently the hub of activity with at least 20-25 choppers landing and taking off on a daily basis owing to the huge movement of politicians from various parties for campaigning across small towns that connect easily from the city.
However, lack of facilities makes the airport risky.
For starters, the Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport at Lucknow has no radar to guide the innumerable chopper and scheduled aircraft landing/departing from there. In such a scenario, degraded mode of operations are prevalent wherein a controller does all calculations of distance and time using pen and paper.
The rush during the elections is so much that lack of parking space has mandated parking of choppers in a haphazard manner in half the space that would otherwise be required.
“The choppers need to come in before sunset and a lot of scheduled aircraft also land around the same time. Hence it creates a havoc on who should be prioritised to land,” a Rotor Wing Society of India member told Express.
On February 2, a departing Kingfisher flight was delayed by an hour owing to the heavy rush of the choppers. “The choppers should essentially come in before 5 pm but VIP schedules are so full that they refuse to land until the last minute of dusk,” an ATC official said. Pilots are in agreement that during election flying, some of the more experienced controllers should be deputed on the job along with enough helping hands to ensure nothing goes amiss.