AI plane wheel hits wall during take off in Trichy

The Asian Age.

India, All India

Aviation minister Prabhu orders high-level probe into incident.

Officials inspect the compound wall at Trichy airport after the incident. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday ordered a high-level inquiry into the Friday incident when a Dubai-bound Air India Express aircraft’s wheels hit a perimeter wall during take off at Trichy airport in Tamil Nadu in the early hours of Friday.

News agencies reported from Trichy that the plane, with 136 passengers and crew members on-board, continued for Dubai and was eventually diverted to Mumbai after Trichy airport officials reported to the pilots that the aircraft might have come in contact with a wall.  

In a major announcement, the minister also said he had recently ordered “a third party professional organisation to look into various safety aspects” in national carrier Air India. A regular “safety compliance report” of all airlines will also be prepared by government aviation agencies. Air India has also “constituted a sub-committee of the board, headed by an independent director of the board, for looking at all safety related issues within the organisation, including subsidiaries”, the minister said, adding that “DGCA officers are at site for preliminary inquiry and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau officers have also been deputed”.

The minister said safety of passengers is of “paramount importance”, adding that “growth can’t be at the expense of safety”.

The incident seems to have become even more serious since, according to reports, the plane continued its flight despite the incident at the time of take-off from Trichy but was eventually diverted to Mumbai. The pilots of the aircraft have been “derostered” pending investigation, Air India Express said, according to reports.

Civil Aviation Minister Prabhu tweeted, “In a recent review on airline safety, I have ordered to put in place a third party professional organisation to look into various safety aspects at @airindiain. (I) Spoke to Secretary and other senior officials of @MoCA_GoI (Civil Aviation Ministry) and directed them to conduct a High Level Enquiry into the incident. In order to have continuous attention towards air safety, I have also ordered concerned officials to put in place a regular “safety compliance report” of all airlines.”