A minor lapse in judgement on the part of an aerobridge operator has now left a gaping hole in the body of a GoAir plane, minutes after it landed at the Chennai Airport on Friday morning.
According to sources in the airport's Air Traffic Control division, the plane G8 305 landed at 6.45 am from Mumbai and was rushing to stay on track to do this connecting run to Port Blair. "When they pulled into the bay and came to a stop, the aerobridge was already moving towards them. It must have been moving faster than the nominated docking speed and the operator missed his mark and it slammed into the aircraft's body, just beside the door," said the source.
The rubber and metal structure was retracted quickly but the damage was already done. Police sources related how the operator redocked around the plane's door and the crew got the curious 168 passengers off the plane. "They said they had heard a thud and a slight jerk but nothing more. There was no harm done and they all left the place quickly," said the police official.
Almost all the people involved point their fingers at the operator of aerobridge number 28 as the guilty party. "Turnaround times are crucial for airlines these days and so he was in a rush. We will probe it to find what went wrong but at the outset it looks as though it was just a case of young blood," said an official.
He also explained that the reinforced metal and rubber tubing of an aerobridge can cause considerable damage to an aerobridge if the speed at which it moves is reasonably high.
After GoAir engineers and Airports Authority of India (AAI) staff conducted a damage assessment of the aircraft, they found that the body of the Airbus plane needed extensive work, "It appears to be damage that will require at least 2 days of work and the plane has been grounded till then.
The DGCA will send an investigation team to probe into the incident and only after their clearance will the plane be certified to fly again," said Captain Deepak Shastri, Chennai Airport Director.