Nation Current Affairs 03 Mar 2016 Thiruvananthapuram: ...

Thiruvananthapuram: Air ambulance exists only on paper

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ARJUN RAGHUNATH
Published Mar 3, 2016, 7:33 am IST
Updated Mar 3, 2016, 7:33 am IST
Aircraft chosen has no clearance for flying.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Minister for Fisheries, Ports and Excise K Babu and Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar at the inauguration of the air ambulance project in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday . (Photo: A.V. MUZAFAR)
 Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Minister for Fisheries, Ports and Excise K Babu and Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar at the inauguration of the air ambulance project in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday . (Photo: A.V. MUZAFAR)

Thiruvananthapuram: Even though the state government hastily launched the air ambulance service on Wednesday, the ground reality is that the state government does not have an aircraft for running the service. Moreover, the Piper Seneca-V aircraft of the Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology (RGAAT) that was projected as the air ambulance is yet to get the Director General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) mandatory clearances for flying.

Besides, the hangar of the state-run RGAAT, where the service was launched on Wednesday, is yet to get connectivity with the airport runway as the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security’s (BCAS) clearance for the hangar is still pending.

 

According to sources, it would take at least two to three months for even an organ transplant service in the government sector to become a reality. An air ambulance facility in government services would be a very distant dream.

“Chief Minister Mr. Oommen Chandy has sought certain exemptions from the centre for operating the existing training aircraft of RGAAT for organ transport service.

“If the centre denies the exemption, permission for carrying out non-scheduled operations would have to be obtained, which may also take some time,” sources said citing that the Wednesday “launch of the air ambulance" could be considered only an eyewash.

Even RGAAT executive vice chairman G Chandramouli clarified that the Piper Seneca-V aircraft or any other aircraft of the academy could not be used as air ambulance.

“The Civil Aviation Requirements prescribe specifications, including medical facilities, for air ambulances. We could only offer organ transport services with the existing aircrafts,” he said.

Meanwhile, a team of BCAS is expected to inspect RGAAT’s hangar on Thursday as part of granting the clearance. It is only when the BCAS clearance is received, the hangar could be given connectivity to the airport technical area. The BCAS team that visited the facility in January had suggested more security measures.

“As soon as the BCAS clearance for the hangar is received, we will take steps to obtain DGCA permissions for the Piper Seneca-V aircraft,” said Mr. Chandramouli. The aircraft was purchased more than an year back at a cost of Rs 6 crore.

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