Two AI flights make emergency landing
Two ageing A-I aircraft come down with technical failures as air traffic get disrupted for hours, reports Sidhartha Roy.Updated: Apr 10, 2007, 02:24 IST
Utter chaos prevailed at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport on Monday as two Air-India flights, between them carrying about 250 passengers, had to make emergency landings, within a span of just six hours, following technical failures.
The first emergency landing was at 6.35 am when an Air India flight from Bangkok, with 169 passengers and 14 crew members board, developed a snag in the locking system of the front landing gear and touched down under full emergency conditions. The pilot requested the air traffic control (ATC) for an emergency landing, a Delhi International Airports Limited (DIAL) spokesman said.
A spokesman for Air India said the aircraft landed safely. But as it was being towed away along the taxiway, its nose also collapsed while turning. The aircraft could be moved only much later. As a result, the main runway (28/10) had to be closed, and air traffic was disrupted for hours, delaying at least 15 flights.
“The aircraft was descending. We saw the runway before us. But suddenly it began to rise again. The pilot announced there was problem in opening the landing gear. Everybody panicked,” said Mukesh Jadav, a passenger.
A DIAL spokesman said although the main runway was partially re-opened at 1.19 pm, the second runway was operational all morning. “We opened 2.8 km of the runway for traffic, while a 1 km stretch at the end was kept closed, which helped in smoothening the flow of traffic,” he said. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Air India are both enquiring into the incident.
As if this was not enough, another Air India flight from Dubai to Delhi made another emergency landing at around 3.15 pm with 54 passengers and 11 crew members on board. Airport sources said the pilot informed the ATC that there was a hydraulic problem in the aircraft.