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1-min read

SpiceJet's Stranded Plane Still Stuck in Mumbai Airport Likely to be Towed Away Tomorrow

In the last two days alone, as many as 280 flights were cancelled as the main runway remained shut, which has a capacity to handle up to 48 aircraft movement an hour as against 35 flights on the secondary runway.

PTI

Updated:July 4, 2019, 10:05 PM IST
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SpiceJet's Stranded Plane Still Stuck in Mumbai Airport Likely to be Towed Away Tomorrow
A SpiceJet Boeing 737-800 airplane is seen after it overshot the runway while landing due to heavy rains at an airport in Mumbai. (Image: Reuters)
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Mumbai: SpiceJet and city airport authorities expect the Boeing 777 aircraft, which has been stuck since Monday night after it skidded off the main runway on landing and veered off to the grassy area, to tow it to the hangar by Friday.

The stranded aircraft has blocked the main runway, forcing the airport authorities to carry out operations from the secondary runway, leading to flight cancellations and delays for the fourth day. The airport has only one main runway, making it the busiest single-runway airport in the world and the second busiest in the country.

A team of Air India engineers and technicians on Wednesday moved the aircraft from the main runway but could not lift it from the grassy area for towing it to the paved area and then to the hangar.

A source earlier in the day said the airport had obtained NOTAM (notice to airmen) for the main runway further till Thursday night.

"The operations from the main runway remained suspended even Thursday due to the stranded SpiceJet plane. However, the process to retrieve the plane from there is on. It is likely to be towed Friday," a source said.

Meanwhile, the airport saw 46 cancellations till 8 pm Thursday, according to the live flight tracking website Flightradar24. Of these, 21 were arrivals and the rest were departures.

The airport has refused to share detailed information on the suspension of operations from the main runway despite repeated requests.

In the last two days alone, as many as 280 flights were cancelled as the main runway remained shut, which has a capacity to handle up to 48 aircraft movement an hour as against 35 flights on the secondary runway.

Meanwhile, Air India, which is carrying out the aircraft rescue operations, has said it has partially lifted the aircraft from the mud.

"We have lifted the aircraft by 60-70 meters in the last two days. We need to lift it by another 30-40 meters to take it to the paved area. Since the front portion of the aircraft is stuck in the soft soil, it is taking time," RK Bagchi, a general manager with Air India, who is leading the operations, said.

The aircraft retrieval process is being carried out with the help of the disabled aircraft recovery kit (DARK), which only AI has in the country. Air India is a part of the IATP (international aircraft technical tool), which owns such kits.

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