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Impact of coronavirus on aviation industry bigger than 9/11 scenario: Air Navigation Services chief

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ANI General News
New Delhi [India], Mar 31, (ANI): The impact that coronavirus pandemic has had on the aviation industry and people's lives are bigger than 9/11 and several other crises that hit the world in the past, said Vineet Gulati, in-charge of Air Navigation Services, on Tuesday.
"Thinking back through the major crises during my professional life - 9/11, 2010 Europe ash cloud, SARS, Swine Flu epidemic, 2008 financial crash, Pakistan Airspace Closure in 2019 - nothing has come close to the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having on both our industry and people's lives. This is without a doubt the most challenging situation we have ever experienced," Gulati told ANI.
He also said, "As one cannot afford the aviation industry to come to a standstill, the Air Navigation Services (ANS), which is the most critical component of the Aviation system, has to be available with optimum efficiency and safety. India's aviation system is certainly not prepared for such a severe systemic shock, and this will have an impact on the entire aviation value chain."
Stressing on the challenges during lockdown situation, he said, "During this time, Airport Authority of India has two priorities -- to look after our people and protect the critical operation on which the country still depends at a time like this."
"We are reducing staffing levels where it's possible while ensuring controller working positions are cleaned at handover times and between shifts. The AAI has issued clear instructions to ATC officers as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on precautions to be taken or prevention of the spread of COVID-19," he added.
On being asked about how aircraft's parking slots are being managed at the Delhi airport, he said, "At Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) runway, l-27 is being used to park the aircraft, this is a worldwide practice."
Meanwhile, all scheduled domestic and international commercial passenger services have been suspended till April 14 in the wake of countrywide lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak though the Indian ATC has to continue giving its services as air traffic through the Indian Air space without landing in India is still permitted.

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First Published: Mar 31 2020 | 10:48 PM IST

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