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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Six major airports told to deploy disabled aircraft removal kits

The direction comes after a SpiceJet aircraft overshot the runway while landing at the Mumbai airport and could not be removed for four days.s

india Updated: Jul 15, 2019 23:56 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
New Delhi
A SpiceJet aircraft affected air traffic for four days after it overshot the runway while landing in Mumbai.
A SpiceJet aircraft affected air traffic for four days after it overshot the runway while landing in Mumbai. (Reuters file)
         

Two weeks after air traffic across the country was affected when a SpiceJet aircraft overshot the runway while landing at the Mumbai airport and could not be removed for four days, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has directed six important airports to procure so-called disabled aircraft removal kits (DARK).

The main reason for the delay was because India currently has only one DARK, which is with Air India.

Hindustan Times reported that the SpiceJet aircraft could not be cleared as the only DARK was away in Mangaluru, Karnataka to clear an Air India Express plane, which overshot the runway there a day before.

“We have directed the airports operators of Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati and Bengaluru to procure the kit by March 31, 2020 and station it at the airport,” said a DGCA official who asked not to be named.

DARK is used whenever aircraft get stuck in soft surfaces after veering off from runways. It is placed below the stuck portion of an aircraft and then inflated like a balloon.

“...there is only one old recovery kit available with Air India, which is not adequate for the large number of airports and type of aircraft operating in India. During the meeting on July 9, it was decided and agreed upon that major airports in India should have DARK to meet exigencies at airports,” DGCA said in its order .

Aviation safety expert Mohan Ranganathan had said the DGCA, while giving license to airport, has to check whether the airport is fulfilling every condition. One of the condition is airport must have ability to retrieve disabled aircraft.

Air India has purchased the kit about 20 years ago and an official said the equipment cost around ~10 crore these days and almost the same amount is spent in maintenance of it and keeping trained staff available.

On Monday, DGCA also suspended the licence of an Air India pilot who got into a brawl with cabin crew before the departure of a Bengaluru-Kolkata flight on June 17.

First Published: Jul 15, 2019 23:56 IST

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