An IndiGo aircraft mistook a road running parallel to the Jaipur airport as the runway while coming in to land, setting off alarms that prompted the pilots to pull up barely a few hundred feet from the ground.
Sources said the plane – Ahmedabad-Jaipur flight 6E-237 — was hardly 900 feet, or less than 1.5 minutes, away from touchdown when the enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) blared in the cockpit.
An aircraft descends at around 700 feet-a-minute during approach. The EGPWS is an audio warning in the cockpit capable of waking up a sleeping pilot.
Both pilots have been grounded by the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), which has ordered a probe into the February 27 incident.
Sources said the pilots had switched off the auto pilot and had been cleared to land at runway 27 of Jaipur airport.
“The pilots mistook the road running parallel to the runway as the runway and aligned with it. This was a very serious incident,” said an official.
“IndiGo Flight 6E-237... was involved in EGPWS “Too Low Terrain” warning on 27 February 2016 when the aircraft was on finals during visual approach at runway 27 at Jaipur,” IndiGo said in a statement.
The airline said that at no point was safety “compromised”.
“The Captain-in-command immediately took a precautionary measure and carried a go-around. The aircraft landed safely on subsequent ILS approach on runway 27. At IndiGo the safety and security of customers, crew and the aircraft is the top priority – at no time the safety was compromised. Both the pilot have been taken off from flight duty with immediate effect by IndiGo chief of flight safety pending investigation. The matter was duly reported to the DGCA by IndiGo flight safety department,” the airline said.