Narrow escape for 191 passengers..Airline blames Mumbai Airport

Mumbai, Oct 8:  A city-bound Air Canada flight from Toronto, which was not allowed to land in Mumbai last month due to a runway closure, was not provided details of alternative aerodromes by the Mumbai ATC, the airline has claimed. Flight AC046, a Boeing aircraft, carrying 191 passengers and crew on board, eventually landed safely in Hyderabad despite "fuel constraints", Air Canada said. The incident took place on September 19, the day Mumbai airport's main runway was closed due to skidding off of a SpiceJet aircraft after landing . Canadian transport regulator has raised the issue with the Indian aviation authorities. "On approach, the aircraft was placed in a holding pattern by Indian air traffic authorities due to an unrelated airport ground incident, but the Indian controllers did not provide details to enable the crew to make an assessment on diverting to an alternative airport," Air Canada spokesperson Angela Mah said in an e-mail statement to PTI. Eventually the aircraft flew to Hyderabad, where it landed normally after obtaining priority to land due to "fuel constraints," the spokesperson said. The runway closure had forced the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) to cancel over 160 flights and divert another 60-odd aircraft to nearby airports including Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.

The spokesperson also said the regulator Transport Canada is reviewing the Mumbai airport delay with Indian authorities. "Air Canada followed all correct procedures and it is now a matter for Indian and Canadian aviation authorities," the spokesperson said.

An Air Traffic Control (ATC) official here, however, said the aerodromes where the flights were being diverted were also choking and it was getting increasingly difficult to accommodate more and more flights. "The ATC did everything that was required for a safe landing of the aircraft," the official said, when asked about Air Canada's claims. PTI