In a freak incident, which delayed the Air India flight by an hour, a catering van hit the door of an ATR aircraft at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on Sunday morning. Air India officials are assessing the damage and said that the loss will run into lakhs and the aircraft will also remain grounded till it is repaired.
“The catering vehicle was returning after loading the food in the aircraft. While returning, it accidentally hit the back door on right side just 20 minutes before the departure. The driver was taken for medical checkup but he was not drunk. His airport driving permit has been seized by the airport operator,” said an airport source.
About 70 passengers, who were to fly to Gorakhpur by the aircraft, and were ready to board, had to wait for another hour. The flight, which was scheduled to take off at 9:45 am, took off at 10:45 am. The passengers were shifted to a different aircraft.
“The vehicle hit the service gate and it is completely damaged now. Our engineering team is assessing the damage and will have to order the parts. We might have to import some parts. Till the door is repaired, we will manage the operations by tweaking the schedule,” the official added.
The vehicle was of a ground handling company. No police case has been filed but an internal enquiry is being conducted since at the airside, vehicles allowed to move at a certain speed and in most of the occasions, they are asked to seek direction from follow me vehicle.