The aviation safety regulator has ordered immediate benching of an air traffic controller and two Air India pilots who were operating the jumbo that hit a light pole at the Mumbai airport in the wee hours of Tuesday. An AI spokesperson has confirmed the incident.
Although no casualty or serious damage to the Boeing 777-300ER was reported, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) took serious note of the matter as the Newark-bound plane had 447 people on board.
The incident delayed the flight by about 2.30 hours, said airport officials.
According to airport sources, the pilots have accused the air traffic control (ATC) official on duty of assigning a smaller taxiway, which resulted in the collision. There are designated taxiways for single-aisle and twin-aisle planes. While narrow body type aircraft are assigned Taxiway Y, Taxiway H is reserved for the big birds.
The regulator, however, said the pilots operating a jumbo should be well-versed with the right taxiing lanes.
“Even if the ATC assigns a wrong taxiway, a seasoned pilot should stop the aircraft if he or she feels that taxi clearance is not available,” said a senior DGCA official requesting anonymity.
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