The operations at Cochin International airport in India came to a standstill for seven hours on 18May as a landing Indian Airlines AB3 aircraft got stuck in the runway after all four rear tyres burst immediately after touching down around 0715 .The aircraft, operating IC 598 on the SHJ CCJ GOI BOM route was diverted to COK due to bad weather at the Calicut airport. As per media reports, the aircraft which was stuck in the middle of the runway was finally towed away only after seven hours. If local media reports are to be believed the delay was due to the non availability of spare AB3 tyres with IC engineering at Cochin.An incoming Jet airways aircraft from Bombay was diverted to Trivandrum while the Jet Airways ATR from BLR turned back. IC576 from GOI overflew Cochin and continued to MAA.
Among aircraft stuck at the apron was a 737 of Oman Air to MCT and an Air India 310 to Bombay.The airport was reopened at 1345.
Incidentally 5 hours earlier another Indian Airlines aircraft this time a Airbus A 320 operating IC 976 on the SHJ COK CJB MAA route was grounded at Cochin
after a go around. This has not been widely reported but as per a local media report, the aircraft touched down away from the centre line and went off the
runway and the pilot on realising this immediately managed to go around and landed again on the second attempt. Details are very sketchy about this incident, but the media report appears to be true as Indian Airlines web site shows IC976 cancelled from Coimbatore for 18May.
Incidentally both these incidents took place just hours before a high level meeting of aviation officials including the civil aviation secretary, managing director of Air India as well as top officials of national airports authority was
scheduled to start at Cochin. The average age of an Indian Airlines AB3 aircraft is 21 years and its last new aircraft purchase was in 1993 when it acquired some 320s.