Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Flying to Chennai at night irksome for pilots, passengers

Chennai: Flying into Chennai at night, particularly between 9.30pm and 11pm, is not something pilots and passengers relish.

High air traffic congestion forces pilots to carry extra fuel for hovering in a sequence while waiting for clearance to land. Two domestic flights had to be diverted to Bengaluru and Hyderabad on Sunday due to congestion, while on Monday, around 10pm more than eight planes were given permission to approach the main runway for landing after they were made to stay on hold near the airport.
A Coimbatore-Chennai Alliance Air flight was on hold over Kancheepuram; a Hyderabad-Chennai Air India flight, Delhi-Chennai Jet Airways flight, a Delhi-Chennai Vistara flight, a Kolkata-Chennai IndiGo flight were made to hold near Pulicat north of the city and a Pune-Chennai flight was told to hold near Puttur.
These planes had to fly around in circles thrice before making the final approach for landing “Most pilots who have experience flying to Chennai at night make sure to take additional fuel so they are able to hover till they get clearance for landing,” a pilot said. He added that on Sunday, a pilot decided to divert “instead of hovering endlessly waiting for a chance to land”.
“Pilots sometimes feel that it is better to divert because of the uncertainty over when they will get clearance to land,” he said.
An airport official said flight movement was high at night because international flights too need to be accommodated in addition to the recent increase in domestic departures and arrivals at the time.
14/11/18 V Ayyappan/Times of India