More than 10 Airports Authority of India (AAI) employees and about 100 passengers of a SpiceJet flight from Bagdogra escaped a major accident on Monday afternoon, as the aircraft landed on the closed main runway at Kolkata airport.
AAI employees were working on the runway as it was closed for maintenance from 1 pm to 3 pm. There were also five vehicles parked on the runway. At 2.45 pm, they noticed that an aircraft was about to touch down on the closed runway.
They hastily cleared the runway and averted a disaster. the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered an inquiry into the incident and suspended the two pilots of the airline till the investigations into the incident are over.
Sources at the airport said the commander of the flight was a foreign national with a flying experience of more than 10,000 hours, while his co-pilot was an Indian. Immediately after landing, both the pilots reported at the DGCA office, but they failed to explain how the mistake happened.
They reportedly told the airport authorities that they could not spot anyone on the runway till they were seconds away from touchdown.
SpiceJet CEO Sanjay Agarwal said in a statement, “At SpiceJet, passenger safety will always remain our top priority and we are taking a serious look at the incident that occurred. Both the pilots have been de-rostered and the matter is being thoroughly investigated.”