Air India’s operations from Delhi were affected on Wednesday after the wings of one of its aircraft and that of an Ethiopian Airline brushed against each other at the airport here.
The Ethiopian Airlines, a Boeing 767 aircraft, was pushing back around 2 am for a flight to Addis Ababa when its right wing hit the left wing of an Air India Airbus 320 aircraft parked near it. Both the aircraft have been grounded till a team from the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation examines them and gives an all- clear to fly again.
Industry watchers say that such instances are common in busy airports. “If there is structural damage to any of the aircraft then it is serious and is likely to lead to the aircraft being grounded till such time as the structural damage has been corrected and the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation gives its nod for the aircraft to fly again. But if only the paint of the aircraft has come off as a result of the two wings touching then it is more than likely that the DGCA will allow the aircraft to operate again after inspection,” an industry watcher said.
While an investigation will bring out how the incident occurred, sources indicate that it is likely that the Airport Operations Control Centre which allocates landing bays for aircraft may have misjudged the distance and the type of aircraft parked next to each other.
Sources indicated that 5-6 flights of Air India were delayed as a result of the grounding of the Airbus aircraft.
The incident occurred in Delhi on a day that the airline’s Frankfurt-Delhi flight being operated with a Boeing 787 aircraft made a “precautionary landing” in Tehran. The aircraft had to land in Tehran as the windscreen on the left side of the cockpit had cracked. All 249 passengers on the flight were transferred to a hotel while they waited for a Boeing 747 which was rushed from Mumbai to ferry the passengers to Delhi.