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Civil aviation minister orders inquiry after flight hits buffalo at Surat airport

Minister of Civil Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, on Friday directed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to conduct an inquiry into the incident where a Spicejet aircraft hit an buffalo on the Surat runway and asked the regulator to ensure that accidents do not recur.


Civil aviation minister orders inquiry after flight hits buffalo at Surat airport

New Delhi: Minister of Civil Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, on Friday directed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to conduct an inquiry into the incident where a Spicejet aircraft hit an buffalo on the Surat runway and asked the regulator to ensure that accidents do not recur.

An enquiry was also ordered into the incident by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and a team from DGCA Regional Headquarters Mumbai would visit Surat airport to investigate into the matter, a statement by the civil aviation ministry said.

The official account by the ministry into the accident at the Surat airport read —

"On November 6, at 19.06 hours the SpiceJet Flight SG-622 (Boeing 737-800 aircraft) hit an animal during the take-off run. Timely action by the pilot of the aircraft averted a mishap and the aircraft was brought back to the apron for checks. Another aircraft was called from Mumbai and passengers were sent to Delhi around 2300 hrs.

The Minister called a meeting today in which Secretary, Civil Aviation, DGCA, Chairman, AAI, Member/ANS, AAI and Member (Operations) were present. It was desired that immediate action should be taken to ensure that no airport boundary is breached resulting in this type of safety hazards in future. The Minister has directed the Airports Authority of India to send teams to visit all such airports where there are similar safety concerns, within the next one month and to take remedial measures within three months.

The Member (Operations) along with Regional Executive Director/ Western Region, AAI are also to visit Surat airport for inspection and discussion with District Collector for suggesting preventive measures to be taken in future to ensure environment management around the airport. An FIR has been lodged in the present incident. It has been intimated that this type of breach by animals from surrounding villages have been reported earlier also. There are fish ponds just adjacent to the boundary wall at Surat Airport which attract birds around the airport, causing safety hazards. These concerns have been raised by APD with State Government authorities and local administration. The Secretary, Civil Aviation has also spoken to Chief Secretary, Gujarat on this issue.

The matter has also been taken up with district administration and in the Airport Environmental Committee meetings also which is headed by District Collector. The Minister of Civil Aviation has also desired that AAI should frame short term, medium term and long term plans for vulnerable airports where these types of airport boundary breaches have been reported."

The airline informed that all passengers and crew members of the flight were safe and were provided alternative arrangements.

Considering the stray-animal menace at the airport, SpiceJet informed that it had decided to suspend its services for an indefinite period.

 

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