The air traffic controllers (ATCs) at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport confronted air rage on Thursday, when a stubborn pilot flying an Uttar Pradesh government plane grabbed precious air time on a frequency used by the ATC in the crucial moments when an airplane is taking off or landing, and would not sign off.
The pilot refused to budge when there were three important aircraft movements taking place above the IGI, apart from 12 routine flights. One of the flights was Indian's new Airbus A319 being delivered to Delhi. On the second crucial flight, a passenger had suffered a heart attack, while the third was an ambulance flight ferrying a critically ill person to a hospital in Delhi. "All three deserved priority clearances," SC Badola, regional secretary of the ATC Guild, told HT.
Airline sources said pilots are asked to restrict communication to that which is "absolutely necessary". But the UP plane pilot — carrying just one passenger, believed to be a trainee at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademy — used up 10 minutes on the frequency, insisting on priority clearance to land.
The controller of the Terminal Approach Radar told the pilot that he would have to wait his turn, but failed to get him off the air. "We finally asked a senior radar controller to deal exclusively with this pilot," an official said. But the pilot shot back: "Do not think you are the master of airspace."
"We will file a report with the authorities," Badola said.