Mumbai: Airport shuts after runway excursion

Updated: 04 June, 2020 07:15 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

All flights were suspended after an aircraft over-shot the runway; airport earlier said it would operate few flights

While the airport was closed for a while, 20 flights were operated in all. Pic/Shadab Khan
While the airport was closed for a while, 20 flights were operated in all. Pic/Shadab Khan

With Cyclone Nisarga on the way, Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) announced shortly after Tuesday midnight that it would be operating a less number of flights on Wednesday (June 3). But after an inbound flight from Bengaluru gave authorities at the airport a temporary scare, due to runway excursion, an announcement was made that no arrivals or departures would take place between 14:30-19:00 hours."

In a media statement at around 12.30 AM on Wednesday by GVK MIAL, which manages CSMIA, it was said that the airport would operate a total of 19 flights, which would include 11 departures and 8 arrivals on June 3. This was much less than the average number of flights that the airport has been handling since domestic flights resumed on May 25 i.e. 25 arrivals and 25 departure per day. The 20 flights on Wednesday were operated by five airlines which include Air India, Air Asia India, IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet. Airport authorities warned that there could be changes to the schedule and that passengers were "requested to check the schedule with their respective airline before leaving for the airport."

Aircraft over-shot runway
However, another statement put out by GVK MIAL at around 3 PM said that the airport had "witnessed a runway excursion" (an aircraft over-shooting the runway) with FedEx flight 5033 arriving from Bengaluru. According to the statement, the incident occurred when the MD11 aircraft landed on runway 14/32. The aircraft was then towed away from the runway and there was no disruption in flight operations. The crew of the aircraft was safe and there was no damage to it. The statement added, "In consultation with AAI, considering the strong crosswinds, it has been decided that no arrivals and departures will take place between 14:30-19:00 hrs."
Operations resumed slightly earlier than expected. At 6:33 PM, the official Twitter handle of CSMIA tweeted, "Landings and takeoffs are resumed at your favourite airport."

Earlier on Tuesday, when the impending cyclone had Mumbaikars on their toes, CSMIA had said that they had taken certain measures "after convening a meeting with stakeholders…to tackle potential adversities accompanied by the cyclone. Stakeholders have been sensitised and advised to follow the standard operating procedures in preparation of the cyclone.

Safety measures taken
It said, "Preventive checks at different airport functions have been carried out and the airport has ensured that DG (diesel generator) sets are in place to provide uninterrupted power supply. Water pumps have been positioned across the airport to clear water in case of waterlogging. Furthermore, food & beverage counters will be operational 24/7 at the airport for passengers. These counters will continue to operate the safety measures
adopted against the ongoing pandemic."

It further read, "A dedicated team has been placed on standby at the airport to assist in this wary situation. Some of the measures undertaken by the airport include efficient personnel management to account for the possibility that the relieving team might not be able to reach the airport to take over their shift. Logistical supports like vehicles, food and tea/coffee have been arranged." Lastly, "Special precautions have been taken for smaller and lighter aircrafts typically used for general aviation (GA) as they are vulnerable to strong winds. Some GA aircrafts have flown out of Mumbai until the cyclone passes while others have been asked to park inside the hangar; the airport has ensured that minimum aircrafts are parked on the apron. The airport is closely coordinating with IMD to monitor the progress/dissipation of adverse weather."

Ever since domestic flight operations were resumed on May 25, CSMIA has catered to a total of 391 flights (as of Monday), and has handled a total of 42,503 passengers—which include 31,655 passengers at departures and 10,838 at arrivals. There have been a total of 195 flight arrivals and 196 flight departure movements in the last week.

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First Published: 04 June, 2020 06:23 IST

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