In a bid to protect Indian airports from natural disasters, Airports Authority of India (AAI) is conducting the ‘‘Get Airports Ready for Disaster” or GARD programme in the country.
GARD is a joint initiative between Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
This initiative is aimed at preparing airports to chalk out a plan to resist any kind of natural disaster. The pilot project of this initiative is being conducted at the Calicut International Airport in Kozhikode. Operations experts from 15 airports in India are attending this 5-day session, which started on Monday.
The GARD project ensures that the airport management is prepared to handle emergency situations such as failure of electricity/fuel supply, passenger/flight operations and security measures which often takes place during a natural disaster.
The experts will learn how to evaluate the current level of preparedness at airports, conduct training exercises, and develop an action plan to ensure that airports are prepared for natural disasters in the future. Till now, the GARD training programme has been conducted in 40 countries.
According to DPDHL’s Director of Humanitarian Efforts, Chris Weeks, this is the first time the GARD programme is being conducted at a global level to train airport operators in countries which are above the average risk for natural disasters.
UNDP’s Assistant Country Director, Dr. Preeti Soni, has said that with increased climate change vulnerability, it is essential to improve national capacities and resilience against natural disasters. This can be achieved by training local authorities in special customs & immigration and having a passenger evacuation plan or accommodation within airports for the first 72 hours of an emergency situation.
With heavy rains disrupting day to day flight operations in India, this programme will surely help airport operators manage such situations and make life easier for air travellers.