Thursday, September 21, 2017

Mumbai rains: Right landing direction saved SpiceJet craft

Hours after the SpiceJet plane skidded off the slippery runway at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) on Tuesday night, a senior whistle blower from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has written to Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) flagging off a potential hazard.

S.Mangala, DGM (Aviation Safety), says that if the aircraft had landed from the opposite direction and overrun the runway, it would have hit the non-frangible JBS (Jet Blast Shield) and gone up in flames as there is no soft RESA (muddy area meant to stop an aircraft) beyond the runway on that side.

An airport official rubbished the claims, saying that everything at the airport and on air side is as per the specifications of the safety regulator at DGCA and AAI. "The regulator, after careful examination and certification, gives the go-ahead for any development," the official said.

Mangala says she has been writing to the authorities repeatedly for five years.She has told the DGCA, the Chairman of AAI, all the airlines and the ATCOs (Air Traffic Controllers) that such an accident can happen any time, which would result in a loss of lakhs of lives because ground causalities will be far more.

"Please keep it in mind that if there is an accident of an aircraft with foreign passengers on board, the State of India/GOI, as a single entity, will be held accountable/liable in the International Court of Justice," Mangala said in her email to authorities.

A SpiceJet aircraft SG703 overshot the runway upon landing, during the incessant rains on Tuesday, and got stuck in the mud. All 183 passengers were safely deplaned, but the craft remained stuck for around 24 hours, shutting the primary runway and affected hundreds of flights.
21/09/17 Shahkar Abidi/DNA

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