DGCA suspends two Alliance Air pilots for a year after a ‘long landing’ incident at Jabalpur airport

Published : May 19, 2022 09:51 IST

An Alliance Air flight taking off from Mangaluru airport (for representational purposes only).

An Alliance Air flight taking off from Mangaluru airport (for representational purposes only).

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s civil aviation regulator, has suspended the licenses of two Alliance Air pilots for “jeopardising the safety of the aircraft and its occupants”. The incident occurred during a routine Delhi-Jabalpur flight on March 12, when the aircraft commanded by the two pilots was reported to the DGCA for being involved in a ‘long landing’ (when an airplane exceeds the touchdown zone).

The DGCA found that the aircraft, with 55 passengers and five crew members on board, had overshot the runway after landing at Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur airport. The DGCA’s investigations revealed that the aircraft floated for a long period, touching down approximately 900m beyond the aiming point.

The investigation further revealed that the decision of the pilot in command (as opposed to the co-pilot who monitors the various instruments) to continue with the landing approach despite the long float resulted in a long landing and the subsequent runway excursion.

The airline had derostered the pilots after the incident, pending the DGCA inquiry.

Stated the DGCA: “The above action/inaction of the crew has jeopardised the safety of the aircraft and its occupants and is in violation of the Aircraft Rules 1937 and Civil Aviation Requirement. The privileges of the licenses held by both the operating crew have been suspended for a period of one year.”

But senior pilots pointed out that it would be unfair and foolhardy to blame just the pilots. They averred that “poor quality assurance during training was a common factor in most accidents”.

Commenting on the incident and the subsequent DGCA action, Captain Mohan Ranganathan, aviation safety consultant and a former instructor pilot on the Boeing 737, said: “So many long landings points to a system failure and poor training. Accident investigation should identify the cause and prevent recurrence. The fact that so many overruns have taken place due to late touch down indicates a failure of the regulator’s safety system.”

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