An Air India flight from Pune to Delhi had to be cancelled on Saturday night due to a bird hit. The bird had apparently hit the aircraft when the Delhi-Pune (AI853) flight was landing at the airport. The glitch due to the bird strike was discovered during the mandatory check, carried out prior to the departure, when the same aircraft was leaving for Delhi. Following the discovery, all 120 passengers and seven crew members were deplaned.
Delhi-Pune flight AI853 had departed from Delhi at 6.50 pm and arrived at the Pune Airport at 9 pm Saturday. The flight was scheduled for departure at 10 pm.
Airport officials said the landing of AI853 was safe and the hit was detected only when engineers were conducting mandatory checks before the aircraft was supposed to take off for Delhi. “After the hit was detected, all the passengers were deboarded. Therefore, there is no question of passenger safety being jeopardised,” said an official.
Passengers of Pune-Delhi flight, meanwhile, complained that due the incident they had to miss connecting flights to the US and other international destinations. An official with the airline said, “All passengers received refunds. Those who had connecting Air India flights to international destinations were given other options, so as to avoid financial loss.”
Bird strikes often hold up fliers and even cause close shaves. Data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) revealed that the number of bird strikes affecting aviation operations have increased over the years. In fact, the numbers revealed that airlines suffer a financial loss to the tune of Rs 5-10 crore per year to such accidents.