An Air India plane was damaged today after having to take off early while at a speed of 120 knots (222 kmph). The incident happened at the airport in Pune when pilots noticed a jeep and a man on the runway while the plane was speeding for take off.
The Pune Airport is also an Indian Air Force airfield, like several other airports in the country, where armed forces personnel carry out routine activity.
The cockpit crew of the Air India A-321 noticed a jeep and person on the runway, prompting the pilots to carry out a premature, emergency takeoff. This resulted in the tail striking the surface of the runway.
The pilots carried on with its flight to Delhi where it landed safely. The incident is now being investigated by the aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation which has asked the Indian Air Force, which operates the Pune Airfield to preserve the recording of Air Traffic Control.
Images of the fuselage of the jet show the extent of the damage to the fuselage of the aircraft which has now been withdrawn from service. A document submitted by Air India to the regulator says, “damage observed on fuselage skin and [air] frame.”
Air India has been advised to remove the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) for its analysis, a DGCA official said after the flight landed in Delhi.
The official, who is aware of preliminary investigation into the incident said, “The aircraft has been withdrawn from service for investigation. Air India has been advised to coordinate with Pune ATC (air traffic control) also to find out any marking on runway.”
When asked about the incident, an Air India spokesperson said, “The A321 aircraft that was scheduled to operate AI 825 (from Delhi) to Srinagar was observed to have certain marks towards the empennage area. This aircraft had arrived from Pune on AI 852. The aircraft has been withdrawn for detailed investigation. The CVR and SSFDR (solid state flight data recorder) readouts would be carried out and the findings shared appropriately.”
Air India has also been advised to coordinate with Pune Air Traffic Control (ATC).