In the second such incident in a week, an aircraft at Mumbai airport was pushed back against the aerobridge, putting 172 lives at risk.
Passengers on the Mangalore-bound Air India flight IC 179 had barely boarded the aircraft when the tow tractor — a vehicle used to tow planes — pushed the aircraft back, causing serious damage to plane’s door and the aerobridge attached to it. No one was hurt.
Passengers were transferred to another aircraft and the flight was late by about 2 hours.
Air India has de-rostered the commander, co-pilot, aircraft maintenance, technician and the tow tractor driver. They cannot attend duty till an internal probe is over.
The damaged aerobridge — that serves one of every five flights at domestic terminal 1A — will be non-functional for a week.
On April 30, a tow tractor had pushed back a Baroda-bound Kingfisher flight, putting the lives of 46 passengers at risk and delaying seven flights.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered a probe in the matter; Director General Nasim Zaidi did not respond to phone calls or text messages.
“We will wait for DGCA’s findings and take action,” said a spokesperson for the Mumbai International Airport Limited.
DGCA is under pressure to improve safety standards after an audit by US’ Federal Aviation Administration, which threatened to downgrade India for flouting safety norms.