Experts suggest 'shift system' to avoid shutdown of Kozhikode  airport due to COVID-19

The experts suggested that to avoid a shutdown, the airport authorities should take immediate steps to manage the manpower efficiently.

Published: 15th June 2020 03:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2020 03:06 AM   |  A+A-

Coronavirus, Kozhikode

A person getting tested for Covid-19 at Beach Hospital in Kozhikode, Kerala. (Photo | Manu R Mavelil, EPS)

Express News Service

MALAPPURAM: In the wake of a terminal assistant manager at the Kozhikode airport testing positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, experts in the aviation industry have come up with some instructions to ensure the safety of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) employees and avoid the shutdown of the airport.

The infected employee has been replaced for now, however, there are some departments at the airport which are being run by licensed persons and replacing such officials might not be easy. The experts suggested that to avoid a shutdown, the airport authorities should take immediate steps to manage the manpower efficiently.

“A shift system should be introduced for the officials working with the important departments. A batch can work for 14 days while keeping another batch on reserve. This will ensure the smooth functioning of the airport,” an expert said. The expert also said the shift system can efficiently be managed by properly allotting schedules for the flights.

“Presently, the number of flights landing at the airport is very less compared to normal. The Bengaluru to Kozhikode flights land five days in a week. One flight from Mumbai land on every Monday. The remaining flights are repatriation flights. If the authorities allot the schedule for the flights from other states as per the availability of the airport staff -- also discussing the matter with the airlines --, it will be easier to implement the shift system and keep the airport staff safe,” the experts said.

The airport officials also demanded separate entry and exit point for high-risk and low-risk people at the airport. “Several staff come face to face with the passengers. They should be separated from other staff who have no direct business with the passengers. At present, all officials at the airport use the same entry and exit gates,” an official with the airport said. 

Meanwhile, Kozhikode Airport director K Srinivasa Rao told The New Indian Express that he the safety of the employees at the airport is his high priority. “We have taken enough safety precautions and follows all the instructions of the health department at the airport. We will study about the new measures like shift system. If the system is practical, we will definitely try to implement it,” he said.

13 AAI officials in karipur to go under quarantine

Health authorities on Sunday traced 13 primary contacts of the terminal assistant manager at Kozhikode airport, who tested Covid positive on Saturday. All persons who came into contact with the manager had been instructed to go under home quarantine, following which 35 officials with the AAI went into self-isolation.

Now, all 13 contacts will have to compulsorily stay under quarantine for at least 14 days. “Twelve primary contacts are under high-risk category. RT-PCR tests will be conducted on them soon,” said District Medical Officer K Sakeena.

Three people, including Airport Director K Srinivasa Rao who earlier opted for self-isolation, are in the low-risk category, he added. Meanwhile, in a serious lapse on the part of airport authorities, a few personal protection equipment were spotted abandoned in a open space near the airport canteen on the day. Authorities later cleared the it from the area. 

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