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Adelte distances itself from air bridge incident

Updated November 30, 2018

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"CAA itself issued taking over and completion certificates after inspection and testing the jet bridges.”— Tahir Naseer
"CAA itself issued taking over and completion certificates after inspection and testing the jet bridges.”— Tahir Naseer

ISLAMABAD: Adelte, the Spanish company that had installed a passenger boarding bridge at the new Islamabad International Airport, on Thursday distanced itself from the incident in which the bridge had recently collapsed.

Two staff members of the airport were injured when the air bridge collapsed on Oct 9.

During a meeting on Nov 22, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation that the matter was investigated and a final report would be presented on Dec 7.

CAA director general Hassan Baig said the CAA was looking into the causes of the incident such as design faults, human error, maintenance fault and communication gap.

“It can be all four. But so far it seems to be a design fault,” Mr Baig told the Senate committee.

According to the official, the air bridge collapsed possibly because of a loose pin. He backed his argument by explaining to the committee that similar design faults had been detected with a passenger boarding bridge (PBB) at the Karachi airport and at the Bacha Khan International Airport Peshawar.

Following the incident, Emirates declined to use jet bridges citing inadequate safety standards as reason.

Senate committee chairman Mushahidullah Khan of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said the incident was a cause of embarrassment for the national flag carrier and directed the CAA for immediate remedial measures.

However, Adelte challenged claims by the CAA that there is a design fault in any of the PBBs installed by it, citing lack of evidence.

“All PBBs installed by Adelte were installed in perfect condition in accordance with the agreed specifications contained in the contract agreements signed with the CAA. CAA itself issued taking over and completion certificates after inspection and testing the jet bridges,” the private company said.

In a statement, Adelte maintained that after installation of the PBBs, “proper operation and maintenance of the PBBs was and is the responsibility of the CAA and Adelte has no role regarding the same under the Contract Agreements with PCA”.

In fact, Adelte pointed towards possible human error when the company said that it had alerted the Civil Aviation Authority on several occasions before the Oct 9 incident towards the safety and structural hazards that could arise from improper operation by untrained and unskilled operators and inadequate preventive measures.

When contacted, Board of Investigation president Amir Mehboob told Dawn that he could not comment on the issue until the inquiry is completed and the report prepared.

Mr Mehboob, who is also the acting deputy director general of CAA, said that it would not be appropriate to fix responsibility until the inquiry is completed which will conclude shortly.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018

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