Monday, May 23, 2016

IndiGo Pilots Sacked for Mistaking Road for Runway: Plane almost landed on road adjacent to Jaipur airport

The Wall Street Journal
May 23, 2016 1:39 pm IST

It’s yet another embarrassing incident that calls aviation safety in India to question.

Two pilots of IndiGo, the country’s leading budget airline, were dismissed from duty this weekend for trying to land on a road, thinking it was the runway.

In the incident Feb. 27, the aircraft, an Airbus A320, was barely a few hundred feet from landing on a road which runs parallel to Jaipur airport in the western state of Rajasthan. The maneuver set off a “too-low terrain warning” that prompted the pilots to get into action, IndiGo said in a statement Sunday.

The pilots were alerted by the enhanced ground proximity warning system, or EGPWS, an audio warning system in the cockpit.

The captain-in-command “immediately took a precautionary measure and carried a go-around” with the aircraft subsequently landing safely on the runway, the airline said.

The airline’s flight-safety department suspended both pilots from duty following a two-month investigation. The incident has also been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the country’s aviation regulator, IndiGo said.

The near-miss is one of the several dangerous or embarrassing mishaps reported in recent months, putting India’s safety score under the spotlight.

In March an IndiGo airlines plane with 100 passengers on board came to a screeching halt at an airport in Hyderabad, after the pilot was alerted to an incoming flight on the same runway.

The same month, a tire burst on one of the national carrier Air India’s Airbus A320 jetliners soon after it landed in Mumbai’s international airport, forcing an emergency evacuation of the plane.

In December, a member of Air India’s ground crew died after being sucked into the aircraft engine.

Earlier the same month, an Air India plane made an emergency landing after its cockpit windscreen cracked. And in September, one of its flights suffered a hydraulic failure while landing in New Delhi.

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