Air India aircraft bangs into light pole at Mumbai airport

The pilot alleges he was asked to take the wrong taxiway by ATC, causing the aircraft to hit the pole

A Boeing aircraft suffered partial damage while it was moving towards its bay yesterday at the Mumbai airport. The Air India (AI 191) flight had arrived from Ahmedabad with 447 passengers and was about to take off for Newark when it hit a light pole at the perimeter area, damaging its right wing partially.

Photo for representation. AFP
Photo for representation. AFP

The airline was in the news recently when an AI technician lost his life allegedly due to miscommunication between the pilots and the ground staff. Officials from the airline claimed that the incident took place as the ATC misguided the pilot by asking him to use a narrow body taxiway, instead of that used for wide body aircrafts. “According to the commanding pilot, the ATC guided him to the wrong taxiway. He was told to use Y taxiway instead of H,” said a senior airline official. The Y taxiway is used for smaller aircrafts whereas the H is used for bigger ones. The aircraft was moved towards the old airport area for repair.

Air India says
No delay caused
An Air India spokesperson said, “The aircraft that landed in Mumbai for a layover did not have a follow me jeep to guide it due to some miscommunication from the ATC which led to the incident. However, there wasn’t any delay in departure to Newark due to this incident.”

ATC responds
Pilot is wrong
ATC officials completely denied the pilot’s allegations. An ATC official said, “The pilot has given an incorrect statement. There were no such instructions to the pilot that would make him take the wrong taxiway.”

DGCA says
Will sort it out
While the blame game is on, the matter has been taken up by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). A DGCA official said, “As both the airline as well as the ATC are insisting that the other party made the mistake, the matter will be sorted out with the help of CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder).”

Flight details
There were a total of 447 passengers on board, according to airport sources. They were going to be transferred to another aircraft anyway, to take off for Newark at around 2.45 am. But they could take off only at around 3.57 am.

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  • Devesh Agarwal25-Feb-2016

    447 people on a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with capacity of 342? (303 35 4). It will be very interesting to hear how Air India managed this?

  • Armugam25-Feb-2016

    I'm more worried about the poles. Are they okay?

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