Flight were delayed at the Mumbai airport and Lufthansa aircraft had to be towed after all four of its tyres burst while landing on Saturday night. The super jumbo aircraft A380s which was also supposed to take off only by main runway was cancelled.
Following the incident in which the aircraft Airbus 330-300 (twin- jet) was stuck on the main runway (length 3,660 meter), all the operations were immediately switched to the secondary runway (2,990 meter length). This led to flight delays. The backlog continued to trouble the passengers even on Saturday when the operations were affected. All airlines were delayed for 30 to 45 minutes claimed one of the senior airline official.
Mumbai airport which handles operations of two A380s had issues as the jumbo aircrafts cannot take off from the secondary runway. While Emirates flew it's passengers by adjusting them in Boeing 777, the Singapore Airlines on the contrary had to delay their flight as the main runway wasn't made operational. SQ 423 that was scheduled to take off minutes after the tyre burst had to accommodate its passengers in a hotel. This A380 carrying more than 400 passengers would be taking off only after the Lufthansa aircraft would be towed and the runway would be clear for operations.
"The operations use the secondary runway instead of the main runway, is always affected due to various reasons including the efficiency of the runway and wind directions. We suspect the backlog to remain till tonight,” said an Air Traffic Control officer.
"On May 13 at 10:50 pm, four tyres of the aircraft of flight LH764 from Munich to Mumbai were damaged. 163 passengers which were on board the Airbus A330 D-AIKR had to leave the plane via stairs, positioned on the runway. The plane will be removed from the runway after the assembly of four new tyres," said the airline in an official statement.
Due to this incident its flight LH765 which was supposed to depart at around 12.50am back to Munich was cancelled affecting 223 passengers.
Official Spokesperson of Singapore Airline spokesperson stated , "Flight SQ423, an Airbus A380 bound for Singapore from Mumbai on May 13 2016, was delayed in Mumbai due to a temporary runway closure. There were 427 passengers and 25 crewmembers onboard. Passengers were provided with hotel accommodation and a revised departure time was determined later on."
Sadia Memon a passenger flying to Bangalore expressed, "My flight G8 323 was delayed for an hour and even after a delayed boarding we could take off only after 25 minutes or so. It was when the captain announced the reason of alternate runway being closed did we all realise the issue. Until then we were all clueless."
The aircraft was finally towed out the runway at 7.50 pm after the suitable fork lift was arranged. However the main runway inspection consumed more than an hour to resume flight operations.
Emirates Spokesperson issued statement on the same day saying, "Emirates flight EK 500 from Dubai to Mumbai was operated with a B777-300 ER on May 13. The flight has departed 7.24 hours late due to a runway closure at Mumbai Airport. Emirates apologises for any inconvenience. The safety of our passengers and crew is of paramount importance. "
Four International flights were cancelled due to this incident. While the Singapore airlines flight took off at around 9.30 pm on Saturday ie. almost 24 hours of it's standard time of departure, the other flights that were cancelled were Air India and United airline UA 49 (Mumbai- Newark, a Boeing 777 aircraft both destined for Newark along with Lufthansa return flight to Munich.
Sources said that the Air India and Air Arabia flights that were lined up for take off along with the apron control were the first one to see the fire caused due to friction while touch down. It was after this that the pilot turned off the engine.