Scare on Priyanka Gandhi flight after pilot spotted fire near Delhi runway
Passengers on board Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s Delhi-bound chartered plane got a scare last week when the pilot spotted flames near the airport runway and aborted landing to do a “go-around”.
According to multiple officials familiar with developments, the plane was flying in from Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur on May 16 with five passengers, including Priyanka Gandhi, and three crew members on board. The plane was initially cleared for landing by the air traffic controller on runway 28, one of Delhi airport’s three runways, but the pilot decided against it to avert any mishap and informed the ATC.
In aviation parlance, a go-around is a procedure where the aircraft takes a round of its destination city after being denied permission to land at first attempt. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the aviation regulator, has been informed about the incident. Investigations are underway.
“The aircraft, with registration number VT-DVV, was scheduled to land at 3:55 pm. But after the pilot spotted the fire, the ATC asked the pilot to perform a go-around. The plane came back and landed safely at 4:18 pm,” a DGCA official said, asking not to be named. The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), which operates Delhi airport, has confirmed the incident. “The DIAL team acted immediately...The fire was extinguished in 11 minutes...,” said a spokesperson for DIAL.
Aviation safety experts, however, warned that such incidents could potentially be very dangerous. “...Fires near the runway are not acceptable. This can turn into a disaster...,” said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, an expert.