Cow, tractor on tarmac disrupt schedule at two airports; flights diverted to Mumbai
Experts say overhaul needed to better air safety standards in the countrymumbai Updated: Jan 12, 2018 10:59 IST
In two separate incidents on Thursday, aviation safety was put to risk after a tractor was spotted near the Mangalore airport runway by the air traffic controller (ATC) before a Mumbai-bound aircraft could take off. In the second incident, two flights were forced to abort landing after a cow was spotted at the Ahmedabad airport. The flights were diverted to Mumbai.
According to officials from the Ahmedabad airport, the cow was seen in the operational area and the incident was reported to the airport operator, Airports Authority of India (AAI). Senior officials said that the flights were diverted as the norms do not allow operations in presence of a wildlife in the operational area.
Manoj Gangal, director of Ahmedabad airport, said, “The cow was in the operational area and not on the runway. It seems that it entered the air side of the airport through one of the gates while the essential vehicles were at work. However, details would be known only once the investigations are completed.” Of the flights, one was a cargo operation while the other was a flight from Abu Dhabi.
In the other incident, a tractor in the operational area forced a Jet Airways 9W 434 to Mumbai to stop its take off. The tractor was used to mow grass. Airport director V V Rao dismissed reports that the tractor was parked on the runway.
“There was no tractor or any other baggage carrying trolley on runway during take-off the aircraft. The take-off was held for a few minutes as a safety measure as ATC observed one tractor far away from runway in the basic strip. The take-off was immediately cleared by the ATC after the tractor was moved away from the basic strip," said Rao.
Aviation safety expert Vipul Saxena said, “India’s aviation safety standards have come under severe scrutiny by ICAO and FAA in past a decade. But due to diplomatic efforts of the government, India was not placed in lowest level of aviation safety standard for which government had assured necessary actions. Unless immediate shake up at structural and functioning of DGCA and civil aviation ministry are done, improvements in safety standard would remain a long distance journey.”