Saturday, January 19, 2019

Cascading effect of 1-hour runway closure triggers plight for flyers

Pune: The one-hour runway closure at the airport on Friday after an Indian Air Force fighter jet developed snag left several flyers stranded, while many inbound flights landed late in the city.

Davinder Sharma, travelling on an Air India flight from Chandigarh, told TOI that his plane took off on time, around 9.20am. “As it neared Pune, the pilot announced that a defence aircraft was in distress at the Pune airport’s runway and the landing would be delayed by 30 minutes. The pilot said the aircraft had fuel for an hour. After 30 minutes of hovering overhead, the pilot again announced that ATC (air traffic controller) had informed him that the landing would happen in the next 20 minutes. The aircraft had fuel for the next 22 minutes. We landed safely around 1pm,” Sharma said.

Rohit Singh Tolia, whose brother was travelling on a Go-Air flight from Pune to Delhi, said he got a call from his sibling, Nitin Chandra, stating that there was a heavy flight delay. “His flight, supposed to take off around 11.15am, was finally airborne around 3.45pm. My brother told me that the airline staffers had told the passengers that there was a problem on the runway and iet had to be shut down,” Tolia said. Chandra saw a fire tender on the runway.

Sushant Malhotra, who was booked on a flight to Kolkata, said, “The plane was supposed to take off at 11:45am, but it finally departed at 4.45pm.”

19/01/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India