CAA identifies defects in boarding bridges at major airports

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ISLAMABAD: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has identified serious defects in the passenger boarding bridges (PBB) at various airports, including the newly opened Islamabad International Airport (IIAP).

According to documents available with Pakistan Today, the Engineering Services Directorate of CAA in its internal communication has highlighted the defects in the PBBs of airports in Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar.

It appraised that although the serious nature of defects in the bridges was pointed out consistently since the inauguration of IIAP, not a single problem was addressed by the contractor through the Project Management Unit (PMU).

Instead of taking concrete steps for the provision of confidence to all stakeholders, measures being proposed are totally non-implementable and against the documented maintenance schedules provided by the manufacturer, said a report.

Documents also state that non-uniform condensation on the roof of the bridges are corroding metal surfaces as they have begun rusting. Additionally, software errors such as traction equipment and lifting frame error are being observed frequently during operations, the auto level motor is not waterproof and the upper side weather seal of the cabin is also breaking.

Documents further state that Board of Investment (BOI) members appear to have created issues by releasing statements against the already helpless and oppressed maintenance staff of IIAP’s section E/M as a distraction tactic. Whereas, there is news of the contractor using different tactics to influence the situation to his advantage as well.

In addition to all of this, the engineering services director inspected the PBBs of the capital’s new airport and is of the opinion that operations including the bridges are unreliable and a severe risk for the passengers using them. He recommended that operations be suspended until the contractor, M/s Adelte, provides basic fixes and improvement in the provided equipment.

It is pertinent to mention here that at least one person was injured at IIAP last month as the bridge collapsed while the operator was retracting it.

It has also been recommended that a cross-functional team be deputed under the chairmanship of System and Quality Management System (SQMS) to ensure confidence and impartiality as well as independently examine on grounds realities and give a recommendation with regard to the continuation or discontinuation of the operations of PBBs at IIAP.

Furthermore, the manufacturer who is based in Spain should be contacted by the highest office in Pakistan immediately so that all problems are resolved permanently without any further delay.

It was also suggested that blacklisting the firm and contractor should also be considered. A legal case should be initiated for this purpose.

“A task force has been constituted to independently prepare the list of problem areas along with a timeline for their resolution at IIAP. Similar action is to be taken for the same brand of PBBs that were recently installed at other airports,” the documents states.