Chennai: Another glass panel developed a crack and shattered at the entrance of the new domestic terminal on Tuesday, bringing the number of such incidents to 13 since the commissioning of the Rs 2,015 crore, modernised airport in Chennai last year.
Eyewitnesses said a side standing glass panel, measuring 8X5 feet at gate No. 4 in the domestic terminal used by Air India and Indigo Airlines passengers for departure, cracked and shattered at 9.10 am on Tuesday. No one was injured and no flights were delayed.
A statement from Chennai airport’s assistant general manager (PR) Harbhajan Singh said the Airports Authority of India (AAI) was investigating the technical reasons behind such incidents which also occurred in the past.
However, the Tuesday’s incident was a rude shock to passengers waiting at the terminal to catch the 10.05 am Chennai–Coimbatore–Delhi Indigo flight and 10.40 am Air India flight to Delhi.
Airport authorities immediately closed gate No. 4 and asked the passengers to enter the terminal from the other three gates. “I was really lucky. If I had moved to the right side instead of the left, the glass pieces would have fallen on me,” said Indigo Airlines passenger Varadarajan who entered the terminal minutes before the glass shattered.
For a woman passenger present outside the terminal at the time of the incident, it was a real shock, as she “did not expect to see a glass break, despite reading about such incidents in newspapers earlier”.
Tuesday’s incident was the 13th mishap at the city airport after Vice-President Hamid Ansari inaugurated the new terminal buildings on January 31 last year.
The domestic terminal began operations on April 23 and the first false ceiling crash was recorded on May 17. The new premises experienced glass breaks and false ceiling collapses periodically and the 12th incident happened on January 2 this year.
AAI chairman V.P. Agrawal told Deccan Chronicle that the shattering of glass was a universal phenomenon and had earlier occurred in Delhi and Mumbai airports before it got stabilised.
“It is a natural process with glass. Kolkata airport is also facing a similar problem,” he said, adding that the impurity that gets into the glass during manufacturing, leads to cracks.
He added, “Since we are now going for complete glass buildings, the incidents are higher.” He ruled out poor quality as the reason since the glass was procured from an international manufacturer in Chennai.