Pune: In the second such incident in a fortnight, an Air India flight from Pune to Chandigarh was cancelled on Thursday evening due to a bird hit. The aircraft engine developed a glitch after the bird hit while landing at Lohegaon Airport as Chandigarh-Pune flight. Around 122 passengers suffered inconvenience but the airline promised that they would be accommodated on a flight on Friday.
Earlier this month, another Air India flight was cancelled in the early morning due to similar reasons.
Flight number AI 813 Chandigarh to Pune arrives at Pune airport at 1.20 pm and flight number AI 814 departs from Pune to Chandigarh at 2 pm. The flight operates from Monday to Friday.
Suhas Jadhav, Station Manager of Air India, Pune said, “The flight coming from Chandigarh was hit during landing at Pune airport. We cancelled the same plane's next flight which was supposed to depart on Friday from Pune airport. We have provided accommodation for our 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 Chandigarh.
Navratri festival started on Thursday and many passengers had booked their tickets for Chandigarh to celebrate the occasion with their dear ones this long weekend.
Matter of concern
On September 9, 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 engineers detected the hit.
“Another incident of bird strike occurring at Pune Airport within a fortnight is a matter of grave concern. Though, luckily on both these occasions no threat occurred to the aircraft it must be understood that bird strikes can have disastrous effect on the aircraft resulting in serious consequences. While bird hits are comparatively rare, two incidents happening within a fortnight requires the concerned authorities and Airfield Environment Management Committee (AEMC) to check for any increased bird activity and take preventive measures to discourage it at the airport,” said Dhairyashil Vandekar, aviation expert & analyst.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) report, bird strikes that often hold up fliers and cause close shaves, nearly doubled between 2010 and 2015. A bird strike is defined as the collision between a bird and an aircraft, which could be while taking-off, in flight or landing.
“Habitats around the airport, by mercilessly degrading surrounding environment and creating garbage dumps, attracts birds to these locations. Most of the bird hits are happening when the aircraft is ascending after take off or descending to land, when these birds come in the flight path at lower altitudes. More awareness and serious actions by local residents and administration alike is needed to keep birds out of the way of aircraft’s flight path, which is clearly defined and deviations are strict taboo,” said Deepak Shastri, former executive director, Airport Authority of India (AAI).