Probe ordered into alleged safety lapse on Mamata’s flight: Raju

New Delhi/Kolkata, Dec 1 (IANS) Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju on Thursday informed Parliament that a probe has been ordered into an alleged safety lapse on the aircraft ferrying West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday.

The minister informed the Lok Sabha about the probe ordered by the civil aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), after an uproar in the House over the issue of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s aircraft not being allowed to land at Kolkata airport.

Soon after the House met on Thursday, TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay raised the issue of the aircraft not being allowed to land at Kolkata airport despite technical glitches on Wednesday night.

He said the aircraft had circled overhead for about 30 minutes and alleged that the Air Traffic Control (ATC) delayed giving the green signal to land despite the pilot pointing out that the plane was running out of fuel.

However, the civil aviation minister refuted the claim, saying the flight hovered only for about 13 minutes before landing at Kolkata airport.

Budget passenger carrier IndiGo also rebutted the allegations by stating that its flight — 6E 342 — made a normal landing at Kolkata airport on Wednesday night.

“The flight was kept on hold for landing due to air traffic congestion at Kolkata. The pilot operating 6E-342 had advised the ATC that he has eight minutes of extra holding fuel over Kolkata (destination) before commencing diversion to the planned alternate,” the airline said in a statement.

“However, this information was misunderstood by the air traffic controller, who assumed that the aircraft had only eight minutes of total fuel left. The misinterpretation of the information by ATC controller led ATC to instruct fire engines and ambulances to be stationed at Kolkata airport.”

“We would like to clarify – IndiGo Captain at no stage declared a fuel priority or an emergency. Subsequently, the airplane made a normal landing at Kolkata airport at 8.40 p.m. (delayed by an hour due to congestion).”

The airline said that the fuel on arrival was more than the required minimum diversion fuel.

“There has been no violation or breach of any regulatory requirement in the above mentioned scenario,” the statement added.

“IndiGo has responded to the queries made by the regulator. At IndiGo, safety of passengers, crew and the aircraft is the utmost priority and at no stage it can be compromised.”

–IANS

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