IC Airbus undershoots runway at PNQ/VAPO
Photo © Andrew Hunt
(From the Indian Express)
An Indian Airlines Airbus A320 landed short of the runway at Pune on Thu. The aircraft was operating a scheduled flight (IC688) from BOM to PNQ. The aircraft had departed from BOM at 0940, arriving on schedule at 1000 hrs.
The Pilot SK Gupta, with flying experience of over 20 years on Airbus aircraft, landed the aircraft in a section of the airport reserved for Military aircraft, which is demarcated by an Arrest barrier used to prevent military jets from overshooting their section of the runway. The aircraft did not suffer any damage and operated the return flight normally.
The pilot has been stripped of flying duties pending an investigation.
The pilot claims that the approach to RWY10 was normal till he experienced a severe downdraft, a vertical column of air descending rapidly at low altitude. Air Force pilots operating out of VAPO have also experienced the same phenomena, and IC is being blamed for not informing its pilots about this.
Now the blame game begins! Thankfully there was no serious accident! But I would have expected IC to have informed its pilots about the weather and phenomena like this which could affect the flight safety. Why make a scapegoat out of the pilot?
The airport at Pune is under the overall command of the airforce with a civil apron managed by the civil Airports Authority of India. Only a limited number of Civil Flights are allowed and that too only between certain hours of the day.
Since the overall command of the airport is with the Airforce, would they be responsible for informing the airline as well as the pilots? Where does the buck stop in a case like this?