BHUBANESWAR: It was a narrow escape for 170 passengers including the cabin crew of a flight from Delhi after the aircraft’s tyre deflated while landing on the runway at Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) here on Tuesday.
On finding the malfunction on the Airbus 320 jet, the Captain steered and taxied the aircraft safely to the parking area and informed Air Traffic Control.
Sources said all passengers escaped unhurt and were evacuated safely due to the pilot and cabin crew’s preparedness and response to the exigency. The flight, Air India (AI) 077, which took off from IGI Airport in Delhi at 7 am, developed the snag while landing here at 9.20 am. After grounding, the pilot realised that the front wheel of the aircraft was deflated. Ground staff of AI were pressed into action soon after the aircraft was parked and passengers disembarked.
Till last reports came in, a replacement wheel and Aircraft Maintenance Engineers were flown in from New Delhi. The maintenance work is still on.
The scheduled departure of the aircraft (recoded as AI 078) scheduled at 9.50 am was deferred inordinately posing inconvenience to around 163 Delhi-bound passengers from BPIA. They were stranded at Terminal T2) of BPIA till late in the evening as the national carrier was yet to make an alternative arrangement for their departure.
“Around 50 per cent of the passengers of the morning flight were accommodated in the afternoon flight AI 076. The fault was rectified and rest of the passengers boarded AI 078 which was ready to fly at 7.30 pm,” an AI official at BPIA said.