Thirty terrified passengers on a SpiceJet coach at Jabalpur airport on Saturday reportedly jumped off their bus as an Air India aircraft came too close and they feared getting hit by the same. Luckily for them, the AI subsidiary alliance air’s plane wing passed very close to the stationary bus without hitting it but this episode has led the aviation regulator warning AI as its ATR-72 aircraft was allegedly not being marshalled to its parking bay by trained personnel but a helper.
The unprecedented sight of flyers fleeing from a bus to avoid being hit by a plane was witnessed at Jabalpur’s Dumna airport when an Alliance Air (AA) ATR landed into the city 15 minutes ahead of the schedule time and was taxiing to its parking bay. At the same time, SpiceJet passengers had flown in from Delhi on another turboprop (Q-400) and were boarding a coach to be taken to the terminal.
“At 11.58 am, SpiceJet ramp staff noticed that AI flight is passing by our coach without maintaining standard distance. Ramp staff tried to seek attention of AI captain (but plane kept proceeding)… One of our passengers saw this and started rushing from the coach, followed by all passengers coming down from coach,” said the incident report filed by SpiceJet.
Dumna airport director Ramtanu Saha said SpiceJet has lodged a complaint which is being probed and the report would be sent to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
“As per protocol, AI pilots should have reported the matter to ATC officials. We have got a written submission from SpiceJet station manager and drivers,” Saha told TOI.
An Air India official said: “There was safe distance between our aircraft and SpiceJet Q400. However, after parking the SpiceJet captain got physically abusive with our technician. A CCTV footage is available with ATC.”
However, a senior DGCA official said “prima facie” the fault may have been of AI. “The AI aircraft was not being marshalled to the bay by either a trained marshal or technician. This work was being done by a helper.
This is not acceptable and the same has been conveyed to the AI top management by DGCA acting chief B S Bhullar. Jabalpur does not get too many flights and airlines must ensure their personnel are present in time for handling flights to avoid situations like these,” said the official.
However, the DGCA official added only the probe report will shed light on exactly what happened in Jabalpur.The SpiceJet flight had arrived from Delhi on its way to Mumbai.