Saturday, September 05, 2015

HAL gesture to allow flight to land saves 162 lives

Bengaluru: On Thursday night, a major air disaster was averted thanks to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) opening its runway to a commercial flight for the first time in seven years.
The emergency landing by Air Asia Pune-Bengaluru (flight number 1427) with 155 passengers and seven crew members on board was accommodated at HAL strip.
The plane, which left Pune at 7.40 pm, was running out of fuel after it reached Bengaluru skies to land at 9.10 pm at the Kempegowda International Airport as scheduled but was denied clearance due to air traffic congestion. In normal circumstances, it would have been diverted to Chennai airport, an aerial distance of 280-odd km and flying time of 50 minutes. But Chennai airport had its own set of problems, with its main runway chipped and unusable for flight touchdowns.
Consequently, nine flights which were to land in Chennai were diverted to Bengaluru, and hence the congestion at KIA.
Since the Air Asia aircraft was hovering for several minutes, the fuel was running out and it needed immediate refuelling or a place to land. The next best option was HAL, which was the main airport of Bengaluru till 2008.
05/09/15 Kushala S/Bangalore Mirror
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