36 hours later, SpiceJet aircraft stuck at Mumbai airport runway; 75 flights cancelled
Authorities on Wednesday continued to struggle to remove the SpiceJet aircraft, which overshot the main runway while landing at the Mumbai airport on Monday night, leading to a cancellation of more than 70 flights.
The SpiceJet aircraft SG 6237 from Jaipur to Mumbai with 160 passengers on board overshot the runway while landing at the main runway 27 at around 11.15pm on Monday. The main runway at the country’s second busiest airport has been closed since then and a shorter and less efficient secondary runway 14-32 is in use leading to delays in operations.
Officials at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport extended its Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for its closure, which was issued till 12pm on Wednesday, till midnight.
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“Today, 40 arrivals up to 10.10pm and 35 departures up to 7.05pm have been cancelled,” Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson said.
On Tuesday, more than 200 flights – out of the total 850 daily services - were cancelled and over 58 diverted to nearby airports as they could not land in Mumbai due to the poor braking condition of the secondary runway.
Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said its engineering team is involved in the aircraft recovery. “The pathway for pulling the aircraft is being made and currently, airbags are laid below the aircraft belly,” Kumar said.
An airport official said the path between the spot where the aircraft is stuck and the runway is yet to be made solid, which is necessary to pull it back on the runway.
“The unpaved area needs to be strong enough for the aircraft to be brought back to the runway,” the official said.
Officials said that apart from getting the aircraft back on the runway, it would also take time to tow it to the parking bay due to which the NOTAM has been extended.
“The airport operator is working towards it and the aircraft could be brought to the runway in next three to four hours,” said an official privy to the process.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday issued another safety direction to airlines asking them to take precautions during monsoons after at least two planes overshot runways while landing in bad weather conditions in two days.
“We are extremely concerned with recent incidents of overshoot, skidding, hard landing etc. The airlines have been advised by way of an Air Safety Circular yesterday on precautions to be taken by air operators while planning operations during monsoons,” the civil aviation watchdog said.
“We’ve also instructed Heads of Flight Safety of airlines to include in their safety briefings to pilots, an express instruction to refrain from landing with unstabilized approach while experiencing adverse weather conditions & initiate a Go-around,” it added.
Before the incident involving the SpiceJet aircraft, an Air India Express flight veered off the taxiway after landing and got stuck in soft ground at the Mangaluru airport on Sunday. Another SpiceJet aircraft overshot the runway in Surat after landing the same day.