On Friday, a dog on the runway at Mumbai's airport was the cause of much mayhem. Not only were 1,800 passengers held up, four flights were forced to go-around, while five more were diverted, burning fuel worth Rs 8 lakh in the process.
The dog had strayed onto the main runway between 10.30 am and 11 am.
The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) confirmed the presence and effect of the runway canine. “An Air India, Kingfisher, Jet Airways and a non-scheduled carrier had to go-around due to the dog on the main runway.”
Three Jet Airways flights and a Kingfisher flight were diverted to Ahmedabad while another Jet Airways flight was diverted to Pune.
“The airport dog squad was chasing two strays, one of which ran onto the runway. The number of birds on the airfield increases every monsoon. This attracts the dogs,” the spokesperson added.
“The stray dogs are quite smart. They know that we can’t chase them anymore once they are on the runway,” said a member of the dog squad.
Although the dog was finally caught at 11 am, it did not bring the airport drama to an end.
A Dubai-bound cargo operator flying over Mumbai lost its weather radar and declared a full emergency. The cargo flight was forced to land on the main runway of the airport, which was shut down for weekly maintenance. This cause a delay in the take-off of 25 flights.
On February 19, Hindustan Times had reported how stray dogs on the runway were proving to be a nuisance. Garbage, filth and leftover food from slums surrounding the airport increase the number of dogs in the vicinity.
The area also has around 250 meat shops. It is illegal to slaughter animals and dispose filth within a radius of 10 km of the airport.