Every day, more than 100 aircrafts are washed, cleaned, dried and kept them ready for flying at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhu. And it takes about 10 hours to complete the process for each plane. Now, the airport operator is planning to do away with this conventional, time-consuming method. DIAL and Air India SATS have joined hands to bring in a new technology from Sweden, which will use robotic arms to wash and clean an aircraft inside out. This will save time, helping the airlines to increase their frequency. Officials said the new method would be cheaper than the manual one being used currently.
"At present, it is like washing 20 cars at a time. More than 20 people have to work for 10 hours at a stretch, ensuring that every bit of the aircraft is clean, in order to provide the flyers with the best hygiene possible. However, the manual workforce cannot match the efficiency of a machine," an airport official said. "Along with better vacuum cleaning, pressure washing and drying of delicate areas, the new technology will also help cut down the current cost drastically."
The new system is likely to start early next year. "The facility will be available at T3. The machine, Nordic Dino, will be procured from a Swedish company. Initially, we are setting it up for washing and cleaning of narrow-body aircraft. Later, all kinds of planes can be washed with the help of this machine. It is expected to arrive by February and the service will be thrown open by April," said an Air India SATS spokesperson.
According to DIAL, airports in Qatar, the UK and Nordic region are already using this automated method. Airlines such as Vistara, Air India, SpiceJet and IndiGo—which use IGI Airport as their hub—are expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the facility. An Air India spokesperson exuded confidence that the facility would be very effective and cut down the cleaning time by half. "At present, it takes us 10 hours. With the new technology in place, the same work will be done in four hours, but with better results. We can improve our on-time performances and frequency," the official added.
DIAL CEO, I Prabhakara Rao, said the company had always been proactive in embracing technological innovations at the Delhi airport. "This facility will significantly add to the apron safety, improved aircraft availability and cost savings."