In a major safety scare at the Mumbai airport on Friday, an Air India flight from Abu Dhabi, with more than 90 people on board, landed without clearance from the air traffic control (ATC) tower.
The ATC had asked the aircraft to go-around (abort landing at the last minute), as they suspected that there was a dead bird on the runway, said preliminary findings by DGCA.
However, its sudden touchdown triggered panic as the airfield safety vehicles were approaching the runway to clear the dead bird.
According to DGCA rules, flights can’t operate from an airstrip that has “foreign objects”, in this case a dead bird, on it, as there is a threat of the object getting sucked into the plane’s engine and lead to a mishap.
The larger concern on Friday was that the flight landed without ATC clearance. “It is serious matter. We are probing it,” said a senior DGCA official, requesting anonymity.
Sources said the DGCA will also check if there was some snag that led to a communication failure between the ATC and AI’s cockpit crew.
An AI spokesperson refused to comment on the incident.