Pune: A major accident was averted when an Air India plane with 120 passengers and seven crew members on board was hit by a bird in the engine but landed safely in Pune.
The flight AI 853 departed from Delhi at 6.50 pm and arrived at 9 pm on Saturday. The flight AI 854 from Pune to Delhi was cancelled after airlines engineering team detected the bird hit.
According to official of Air India from Pune airport, “The flight coming from Delhi was hit during landing at Pune airport. We cancelled the same plane's next flight which was supposed to depart at 10 pm from Pune airport. We have refunded tickets to all passengers.”
Airport officials told Sakal Times that the landing was made safely and the hit was detected only when engineers were conducting mandatory checks before the aircraft was supposed to take off for Delhi.
An Air India official said, “The bird hit happened just before the flight landed at 9 pm, but it was not noticed then.
“After the hit was detected, the passengers who boarded the aircraft were deplaned. Therefore, there is no question of passenger safety being jeopardised,” an airport official told Sakal Times.
Many passengers have connecting flights from Delhi to John F Kennedy Airport, New York City. The passengers expressed anger against airlines, but after the officials explained the incident, the passengers agreed to cancel their tickets.
An airlines officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “We booked tickets for those who wanted to go urgently on the flight for New York on Sunday.”
Bird strikes doubled
Bird strikes that often hold up fliers and even cause close shaves, nearly doubled between 2010 and 2015, data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation safety regulator, said.
A bird strike is defined as the collision between a bird and an aircraft, which could be while taking-off, in flight or landing.