Mumbai: A major tragedy was averted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport last evening when two Jet Airways aircraft were scheduled to land on the same runway a minute apart, forcing a third flight, ready for departure, to abort.
Panic followed the landing of Bhuj-Mumbai flight 9W 2534 at CSIA main runway 0927 at 6.06 pm. The plane, ferrying around 40 passengers, remained on the airstrip for more than a minute, forcing Nagpur-Mumbai flight S2176, scheduled to land at 6.07 pm, to stay airborne.
The latter's pilot was instructed to go around at the last minute, once it was reconfirmed that flight 9W 2534 had not yet cleared the runway. Meanwhile, flight 9W 2073 Mumbai-Udaipur, unaware of the development, was on the taxiway for departure, and was asked by the air traffic control (ATC) to abort at the last minute.
"Every flight needs to clear the runway within 35-40 seconds of landing but 9W 2534 did not, which led to S2176 going around and the delay of the Mumbai-Udaipur flight. The matter has been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) which will conduct a detailed investigation into the matter," said an ATC source.
Flight S2176 finally landed at 6.21 pm, and flight 9W 2073 departed at 7.45 pm, 55 minutes after the scheduled time. The airline carrier, Jet Airways, said in its statement, " s advised by ATC, 9W, Mumbai-Udaipur had to reject take-off at very low speed. This was due to another aircraft waiting to clear the runway. The flight departed with a delay of 55 minutes." However, it did not say that the aircraft on the runway was also a Jet aircraft.
DGCA chief E K Bharatbhushan said, "We will have to check what actually happened." When contacted, Mumbai ATC General Manger G Dasgupta refused to comment.
May 2010: Jet Airways flight 9W 616 from Kolkata to Mumbai was asked to abort landing after Indigo flight 6E415 was spotted on the runway. The Jet flight was 700 feet from the runway when the ATC alerted its pilot to abort landing and go around.
June 2011: Mumbai-Chennai SpiceJet flight, scheduled to take-off, developed a technical problem at the last minute after which the ATC asked it to abort. During the same period, a Delhi-Mumbai Kingfisher Airlines flight was cleared for landing at the same runway. The ATC asked the Kingfisher pilot for a go-around, after which the aircraft was sent back to Delhi.