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War of words on X between Scindia, Tharoor over Delhi airport woes

War of words on X between Scindia, Tharoor over Delhi airport woes

New Delhi: Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia referred to Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday as an "arm-chair critic" in reaction to the Congress MP's criticism of Delhi airport management during the winter fog season.

Scindia provided a comprehensive counterargument in a series of posts on X, emphasising the government's proactive measures as well as the complex technological problems that aviation operations present.

This exchange occurred after Tharoor criticised the aviation ministry in a series of posts on X, incorporating various media reports to underscore the disarray at the airport.

Scindia started his tweet with a dig at Tharoor saying: “It is for someone who is lost in his esoteric world of thesaurus that data mining of selective press articles from the internet qualifies as “research”.”

The Minister while elaborating the steps taken, wrote, “Here are some actual facts for arm-chair critic @ShashiTharoor and the Cong IT Cell that might help tackle their lack of depth in understanding of technical sectors like civil aviation.”

“Runway maintenance work is a critical safety element for aviation operations, and any compromise with runway conditions directly jeopardizes passenger safety.

"As a result, the maintenance was taken on top priority to be completed by 15th December before the onset of the fog season. However, due to pollution incidents and enforcement of GRAP-IV in Delhi, the recarpeting got delayed, resulting in a delay of one month in its commissioning. The revamped RWY is getting operational this week,” said Scindia in a tweet.

Scindia also addressed concerns about technical flaws that had been highlighted by critics, armed with technical details in response to some parts of Tharoor's criticism.

Responding to Tharoor's claims about the shortage of trained pilots, Scindia refuted them, stating that the number of CAT II/CAT III trained pilots has increased from 2416 in 2014 to 6191, a 2.5-fold jump in the last nine years. He emphasised the DGCA's strict enforcement of deploying CAT IIIB-compliant aircraft with qualified crew during the winter season. Significantly time references regarding changes or improvements in the sector cover the period from 2014, the year Modi came to power to the present.

In the context of CAT III landings, Scindia explained the three dependent factors -- Runway Capability, Aircraft Capability, and Pilot Accreditation. He clarified that CAT III operations depend on the highest common factor among these variables and provided a comparison with JFK Airport in the USA to put India's capabilities into perspective.

“The two CAT III runways at Delhi Airport are equipped for aircraft to land with minimum visibility of up to 50 meters. However, the majority of the aircraft fleet in India viz. Airbus 320 (75 mtrs) and Boeing 737 Max (175 mtrs) have visibility minima greater than the runway threshold. Thus, even if the runway is capable and sufficiently trained CAT III pilots are made available, these aircraft are not designed for Zero Visibility operations.

"Further to give you a perspective, JFK (New York) airport in the USA has 4 runways, but the airport only has 1 runway capable of CAT III landing which is also with a restricted minima up to 182 mtrs (600 feet) – 3.5 times of India’s 50 mtrs!

"Go figure it out yourself - Enlightened, Mr Tharoor!” said Scindia in the tweet.

“The treatment meted out to the passengers in the instant case was unacceptable, and we have acted immediately in the form of a show cause notice to the concerned operators. Further, SOPs for better communication to passengers were also issued. Implementation is being monitored thrice daily, Scindia further tweeted.

Tharoor in his tweet that has patently piqued the Civil Aviation Minister had said "Airport has been in chaos recently. The young professional wanting to go home for Makar Sankranti. The Army officer excited to visit his ancestral village for Lohri. The anxious son trying to get home to take care of an unwell parent. Thousands of peoples’ lives and schedules have been disrupted by a regular, predictable, foggy winter day. It’s a ModiGovt-made disaster, a result of the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s neglect and incompetence."

With inputs from IANS

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TAGS:Jyotiraditya ScindiaShashi Tharoor
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