In the wake of over three days of runway closure at Mumbai airport — one of India’s busiest — due to an excursion incident earlier this month, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Monday directed six major airports of the country to procure and deploy the “disabled aircraft recovery kit” by March next year.
Earlier this month, a SpiceJet aircraft veered off the Mumbai airport’s runway upon landing and got stuck in the grass area, forcing officials to keep the runway closed for three days. The recovery kit is deployed to extract and remove any aircraft that is unable to move using its own power or through a tow tractor.
“It is hereby directed to procure the disabled aircraft recovery kit and position it at Kolkata, Chennai, Guwahati, Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru airports by the airport operators concerned by March 31, 2020,” the DGCA noted in an order addressed to the CEOs of Mumbai airport, Delhi airport and Bengaluru airport, and Chairman of Airports Authority of India.
The regulator said during the recent landing incident in Mumbai, recovery of the aircraft took more than three days, resulting in closure of the main runway. This led to cancellation and diversion of several flights, it said.
At Mumbai, Air India had deployed its “disabled aircraft recovery kit” to extract and remove the stuck SpiceJet plane. “There is only one old recovery kit available with Air India” and it “is not adequate for the large number of airports and type of aircraft operating in India”, the regulator said.
On July 9, the DGCA held a meeting where it was “decided and agreed upon that major airports in India should have disabled aircraft recovery kit to meet the exigencies at airports”.