Mumbai, July 5 (IANS) After remaining blocked for over 90 hours, the main runway of Mumbai International Airport was re-opened for operations, signalling normal services from around 4.45 p.m. on Friday, an official spokesperson said.
Shortly before midnight on Monday, the main runway 09/27 (3.66-km-long) had been blocked after a SpiceJet aircraft from Jaipur overshot the runway while landing, badly hitting flight operations to and from the country’s commercial capital.
This compelled the MIAL to use the secondary, shorter runway 14/32 (2.99-km-long), which crosses the main runway and cannot handle all types of aircraft.
The resumption of the main runway follows the successful recovery of the stranded SpiceJet aircraft and shifting it away early this afternoon.
It took a 60-member team from MIAL’s airside operations, maintenance, projects and fire teams along with a 100-strong contract staff who worked 24×7 in incessant rain to clear the runway.
They created a pathway of around 130 by 20 metres using stone bed and gravel, topping with steel plates and FRP sheets to enable the Poclain equipment and two tugs pull the aircraft weighing around 41 tonnes after it was emptied of all fuel and cargo.
Since the nose gear of the disabled aircraft was also damaged, it presented a huge challenge to the teams which used the Air India’s Disabled Aircraft Recovery Kit (DARK) equipment.
To mitigate the impact of the non-availability of the nose gear, a trailer had to be positioned in front of the aircraft to support it while the plane was being pulled from behind, while ensuring that the aircraft was not damaged and avoiding safety incidents to the teams.
During these 90 hours, an estimated 500 plus flight operations were severely hit, including cancellations/diversions of both domestic and international arrivals or departures, besides delays due to heavy rain, water on the runway, poor visibility, etc.