Two wheels of an Air India Express flight hit a wall at the Trichy airport.
An Air India flight taking off from Tamil Nadu’s Trichy for Dubai, with 136 passengers and crew on board, hit a wall of the airport late last night. The Air India Express flight was diverted to Mumbai, where it was found that the plane had suffered extensive damage.
The pilots have been grounded for an investigation.
Air India has said that the flight was taking off around 1.30 am when two of its wheels hit the airport perimeter wall. The wall collapsed on impact.
The pilot reported that the aircraft systems were operating normally, said the airline. But it was decided that the flight would be diverted to Mumbai as precaution.
The plane landed safely in Mumbai around 5.35 am and taxied to the parking stand. All 130 passengers and six crew members were safe.
Officials soon found that the plane’s fuselage or body had been “shredded”. Images show extensive damage to the belly of the aircraft.
Another flight was arranged to take the passengers from Mumbai to Dubai.
The pilot and the co-pilot have been taken off the roster, the airline said. “The pilot in command was Captain D. Ganesh Babu, who has a flying experience on the B 737 aircraft of 3600 hours, including about 500 hours as commander. The First Officer was Captain Anurag who has an experience of about 3000 hours on the B 737,” said its statement.
Officials said the flight’s antenna too was damaged and its broken parts were found on the ground.
Another officer said, “We had reported this to the pilot. He had confirmed that everything was fine and so the flight was diverted to Mumbai.”
The top aviation watchdog, Director General of Civil Aviation, will investigate the incident, a senior airport official said. “Two wheels of the flight touched the top part of the boundary wall as the plane appears to have overshot the runway. We will soon replace the ILS (Instrumentation Landing System) antenna,” the official told NDTV.
Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said he had ordered a third party professional organisation to look into safety at Air India in a recent review.
“In order to have continuous attention towards air safety, I have also ordered concerned officials to put in place a regular “safety compliance report” of all airlines. Safety of the passengers is of paramount importance for us. We will take all that’s required to put safety on top of aviation agenda. Growth can’t be at the expense of safety,” the minister tweeted.