Ground-service vehicle rams aircraft

Ananth Krishnan

CHENNAI: A ground-service vehicle belonging to Jet Airways crashed into a Air Deccan aircraft parked on the tarmac of the Chennai airport on Monday morning.

An Air Deccan spokesperson said the incident took place at 3.03 am, and that the vehicle was “speeding.” The Mahindra Bolero crashed into the left rear service door of the Air Deccan ATR aircraft (call-sign VT-DKA) parked at Bay No. 48.

The spokesperson said the damage was extensive and it would take the airline around 5 months to get the aircraft fixed. The airline was planning to take legal action against Jet Airways. “We will shortly be filing a case against Jet Airways, and will take any necessary legal procedures to recover our costs from the damage.”

A Jet Airways spokesperson said that the airline had instituted an internal enquiry. Airport Director Dinesh Kumar said the incident was under investigation. “Only after that will any action be taken. But it has not affected the departure or arrival of flights in any way.”

There have been an increasing number of ground accidents at airports around the country. Last month, an Air Deccan ground technician was fatally run over by a ground vehicle on the tarmac of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

Former pilot and aviation expert Capt. A. Ranganthan said the increasing number of accidents was a result of airlines taking shortcuts with ground safety, with greater pressures caused by more flights and increasing competition.

“Every airline is rushing their ground operations as they are facing greater time constraints. People are not giving enough attention to awareness training, and they are throwing precautions to the wind. Many of the operators of vehicles are temporary employees, and are unaware of the precautions that one must follow on the tarmac,” he added.

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