Turkish plane removed from runway


Staff member
Mumbai: A Turkish Airlines aircraft that skidded from the main runway of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) and got stuck in rain-drenched slushy ground was finally retrieved after three days of salvage operations.

All flights were on schedule Monday following a chaotic turn of events at the country's busiest airport when the main runway was shutdown on Friday after 4am due to the incident and all arrivals and departures had to use the secondary and shorter runway.

This led to major inconveniences for passengers as flights were delayed and some cancelled. "A mandatory inspection of the main runway was conducted before normal flights commenced today," said a spokesperson of Mumbai International Airport Ltd, that runs the airport.

The aircraft was removed from the muddy ground to the pavement at 1.17am yesterday and thereafter it was shifted to Air India hangar at 6.45am.

"Runway 9-27 was handed over to Air Traffic Control for normal operations at 6.51am." The first operations on the main runway were the departure of an Air India flight 675 to Kolkata at 7.07am and a Spicejet arrival from Hyderabad at 7.12am.

The Turkish Airlines-720, an Airbus 340-300, had veered off the rapid exit taxiway-N8 after landing at CSIA from Istanbul. All 104 passengers including 11 crew members were safely evacuated. The airline had blamed "excessive rain" for the incident.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has ordered a probe into the incident. Meanwhile, a young passenger on the flight Amrit Pal told Gulf News, "The plane landed with a thud that was followed by strong vibrations across the aircraft as it speeded on the runway. Everyone thought it was a hard landing. When the plane skidded off the runway, I noticed that the left wing was not in line with the runway."

It was only after the pilot made the announcement of an emergency that passengers realised something was wrong, he said. The passengers were immediately evacuated through the inflatable slide.

While it would have taken some time for the DGCA to come up with its report, an airport source said that the pilot had apparently turned early into the first exit and that is why the plane skidded.