A two-member team of air safety officers from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) visited Indore airport on Sunday, a day after 66 passengers on board a Jet Airways flight from Delhi had a narrow escape when the aircraft skidded on a wet airfield.
According to preliminary reports, the turboprop — a term used for smaller aircraft — first swayed left, then went on the right before skidding off the runway. The plane finally stopped after it got stuck on soft mud near the tarmac, said officials.
“According to standard operating procedure, the cockpit crew is normally taken off flying duty pending an inquiry in such cases, but we will take a call after reviewing the ground inspection report,” said a senior DGCA official.
A Jet Airways spokesperson confirmed the incident. “Jet Airways flight 9W2793 from Delhi to Indore departed the paved surface after landing and came to a stop on soft ground. All 66 guests and four crew aboard were deplaned safety and taken to the terminal building,” said the spokesperson.
The probe would broadly focus on two aspects, - the condition of the runway as it was wet owing to a steady drizzle and the pilots skills in stopping the plane. “Braking on wet runways is difficult as the necessary friction is reduced. But the ATR is a small aircraft and the Indore runway is fairly long for a safe touchdown,” said another DGCA official.
The safety regulator is also likely to question the airline on the crew’s decision to avoid emergency evacuation. “Our preventive safety guidelines state that passengers should be evacuated through inflated escape chutes in such situations. But in this case, the airline crew chose the traditional procedure to off load passengers,” added the official.
The Indore airport runway is undergoing routine repairs at night when the airport is shut.