An accident was averted on Monday as a Mumbai-bound Singapore Airlines flight that erroneously made an approach to land at Juhu airport instead of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) corrected the course at the last minute.
The two runways, at Juhu and at CSIA, are about a kilometre apart and the Mumbai Air Traffic Control has an alert in place for pilots. A source from the Juhu airport said the Mumbai-bound flight, which was supposed to land on Runway 09 was almost about to land on Runway 08 at Juhu. As the Juhu runway is much shorter than the CSIA runway, an erroneous landing could have resulted in an overrun.
Officials said an issue with the Instrument Landing System (ILS) that allows airlines to continue operations in low visibility conditions could have been the reason. “The Singapore Airlines pilot was in touch with the Mumbai Air Traffic Control and the flight was supposed to make an approach for Runway 09 of the Mumbai airport. On a preliminary basis, the pilot was unable to judge the direction due to an issue with the ILS at the Mumbai airport. Immediately after the Juhu ATC learnt of the error, the officials alerted the pilot and the Mumbai ATC,” said a Juhu airport official. “The error was rectified on time. The aircraft was then diverted to the Mumbai airport runway,” the official added.
An official statement from the airline read: “Singapore Airlines SQ422, an Airbus A350, operating from Singapore to Mumbai on 04 December 2017, was scheduled to land on Runway 09 at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 1035hrs (local time). Due to poor visibility conditions, the crew discontinued the approach to Runway 09 at approximately 1,000 feet, in accordance with standard operating procedures. Air Traffic Control Mumbai then vectored the flight for a subsequent approach onto Runway 09 and the flight landed uneventfully at 1048hrs (local time). At no time did the pilots of SQ 422 mistake Juhu airport as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.”
On Monday morning, a notice had been issued at the CSIA for two hours mentioning that the ILS was switched off. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) would investigate the matter, officials said.
Medical emergency: Flight diverted
A Dubai-Mumbai Air India flight was diverted to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Monday because of a medical emergency. Officials said a passenger in flight AI 906, Selva Rasu, complained of chest pain onboard. A doctor at the airport was called in and relief was offered to him, officials said. “He was put in another flight to Chennai after he felt better. The flight (AI 906) left the airport at 5 am,” an AI official said.