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Updated: May 22, 2010 19:37 IST

‘Air India pilot had made 19 landings at Mangalore airport earlier’

PTI
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Civil Aviation Secretary Madhavan Nambiar briefs the media on Mangalore plane crash, in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Kamal Narang
Civil Aviation Secretary Madhavan Nambiar briefs the media on Mangalore plane crash, in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Kamal Narang

The pilot of the ill-fated Air India plane, a British national of Serbian origin, had an experience of over 10,000 hours of flying and had carried out 19 landings at the Mangalore airport during the last two years, Civil Aviation Secretary Madhavan Nambiar said.

The 53-year-old Z. Glusica had “fair amount” of experience in the Mangalore terrain, he told reporters in Delhi, seeking to dispel the impression that the pilot could have been unfamiliar with the airport’s topography.

He had 10,200 hours of flying experience and had made 19 landings at the Mangalore airport during the last two years, Mr. Nambiar said.

Glusica’s co-pilot H. S. Ahluwalia, who was based in Mangalore, had 66 landings to his credit at Mangalore airport, the Secretary said.

Air India Director (Personnel) Anup Srivastava said in Mumbai that Glusica had his commerical pilot’s licence endorsed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, making him “capable” of flying in India.

Glusica, along with Ahluwalia, last flew into Mangalore on May 17, Mr. Srivastava said.

Ahluwalia was relatively new as he had begun flying here in April last year and had 3,750 hours of flying experience, he said.

The plane was two-and-a-half-year old and was air worthy, the Air India official said.

On the air-worthiness of the runway on which the mishap occurred, Mr. Nambiar said there have been 32,000 landings since 2006.

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