Six pilots- two each from IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India were suspended by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) who had reported running low on fuel while landing in Kolkata last Wednesday, according to a TOI report. Mamata Banerjee was flying back from Patna to Kolkata in an IndiGo flight, returning from her rally against demonetisation. Along with her was party vice-president Mukul Roy. Sources told TOI that the regulatory action was a ‘strict’ warning to airlines not to cut corners on fuel, especially in the winter season when visibility keeps getting hit and planes have to divert from their scheduled destinations. “The DGCA has de-rostered (meaning grounded) the pilots and sought their corrective training,” said an AI spokesperson.
The airlines are unhappy with the move. According to Mukul Roy, the flight 6E 0342, had landed at 8:45pm in Kolkata. He said, “Upon landing, the pilot said that the ATC had been informed about the flight being low on fuel at 8:13pm. The flight with the CM on board was in the air, while the flight was critically low on fuel.” Roy, also told reporters, that the Patna-KKolkata flight had taken off after an hour’s delay and near Kolkata, the pilot had announced due to congestion the flight would circle the airport and it was eighth in queue for sequential landing.
Meanwhile airport authorities refused to comment officially, maintaining that an investigation was ongoing. The official, however clarified, “There was no security threat. It was due to congestion. What is troubling though is that the ATC maintains that they didn’t receive any word regarding the flight being low on fuel. We will need to investigate the issue thoroughly.”