Probe on after service vehicle forces early take-off of Air India flight

The service vehicle, which was cleared for performing a routine task on the Pune airfield runway on Saturday morning, reached close to the runway at the same time as the Air India flight was on the take-off roll, an IAF officer said on condition of anonymity.
The aircraft with 180 passengers landed safely at its destination, Delhi, and the matter is being probed by the IAF, an officer said.(Reuters File Photo)
The aircraft with 180 passengers landed safely at its destination, Delhi, and the matter is being probed by the IAF, an officer said.(Reuters File Photo)
Updated on Feb 16, 2020 12:54 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Pune | BySteffy Thevar, Pune

Air India (AI), the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Indian Air Force (IAF), which controls the Pune airport runway, ordered a probe after an AI pilot took off early on Saturday morning to avoid hitting a service vehicle that was on the runway at the same time, a senior official said. The aircraft’s tail struck an object and suffered damage in the process.

The service vehicle, which was cleared for performing a routine task on the Pune airfield runway on Saturday morning, reached close to the runway at the same time as the Air India flight was on the take-off roll, an IAF officer said on condition of anonymity.

The Air India pilot had to do an earlier rotation than had been planned by the crew of the aircraft, the officer added. The aircraft with 180 passengers landed safely at its destination, Delhi, and the matter is being probed by the IAF, the officer said.

Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said the matter is being investigated by the engineering department of the airline because the damage to the aircraft needs to be assessed. He said, “The A321 aircraft that was scheduled to operate AI 825 to Srinagar was observed to have certain marks towards the empennage {tailgate} area. This aircraft had arrived from Pune on AI 852. The aircraft has been withdrawn for the detailed investigation.”

An analysis of tie cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and digital flight data recorder (DFDR) readouts would be carried out. The CVR and DFDR were removed for investigation by the airport authorities in Delhi. A senior official at Pune airport said the pilot had informed Air Traffic Control (ATC) in Pune that he saw a jeep on the runway which is why he immediately took off to avoid hitting it.

The DGCA, the aviation regulator, also ordered a probe of the incident.

A DGCA official aware of preliminary investigation into the incident told news agency PTI, “The aircraft has been withdrawn from service for investigation. Air India has been advised to coordinate with Pune ATC also to find out any marking on the runway.”

(with inputs from PTI)

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021