Monday, May 14, 2007

Paramount Airways runway overrun closes airport

Paramount AirwaysAll flights to and from the airport at Visakhapatnam (aka Vizag), a city on the east coast of India, were canceled this past Saturday after an aircraft operated by privately owned Paramount Airways ran off the end of a runway after landing and became mired in mud. The aircraft had just arrived on a scheduled flight from Hyderabad. No one was injured in the incident.

Some news reports from India about the incident seem to suggest that the aircraft may have landed on a new runway that was not yet officially in service. quoted an air traffic controller who said that "the pilot got confused and landed on the wrong runway and lost control."
had this to say about the airport at Visakhapatnam:
The airport, which is managed by the Indian Navy and the Airport Authority of India (AAI), recently completed construction of 10,000 feet new runway. The in-flight calibration of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) by the AAI was scheduled to be taken up in a couple of days.

The necessary approval for using new runway from the director general of civil aviation was expected by the month-end.
An article published earlier today by notes that partial service has resumed at the airport. Smaller turbo-prop planes operated by Kingfisher and Air Deccan were allowed to land at Visakhapatnam the day after the accident, but the larger aircraft operated by Indian, Air Sahara and Paramount Airways will remain suspended till the runway is clear.
According to a Naval official, the plane has been moved for a distance of 15 metres and the operation is still going on. Besides, the Navy offered to provide technical backup for operating more small planes but no airliner came forward to operate extra flights. also commented on the investigation:
A two-member team from the office of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Chennai, conducted an inquiry into the factors that led to Saturday’s faulty landing of Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam Paramount Airways’ plane.

The team is looking into air-worthiness of the plane, competence of pilots and condition of the runway, which, left as it is, might affect the landing of planes.
Regarding the investigation, reports today:
Meanwhile, a Naval Spokesman contradicted the claim of Paramount Airways that the flight overshot the runway due to the presence of mud on the runway. The Boeing 737 of Indian Airlines had landed normally a few minutes before the mishap occurred, he pointed out.
If you're confused by that statement, so am I. Did the Indian Airlines Boeing land on the same runway as the Paramount one did? Did one, both, or neither land on the 'wrong' runway? If the Boeing landed on a different runway than the Paramount plane, why even mention it?

[Photo Source]