The licence of two Jet Airways pilots has been been suspended for trying to use taxiway for taking off at Riyadh Airport last week, an attempt that had put at risk the lives of 148 people on board, officials said. Saudi aviation body Aviation Investigation Bureau (AIB) and its Indian counterpart Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) are conducting a safety probe into the incident that took place on August 3. The flight was bound for Mumbai from Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh International Airport.
The Boeing 737 aircraft, carrying 141 passengers and seven crew members on board, aborted the take-off on a taxiway that ran parallel to the runway and in the process overshot the taxiway at the King Khalid International Airport, the AIB said in a press release today. A taxiway is used by an aircraft to facilitate its movement between the runway and parking area.
“Initial factual information confirmed that the aircraft attempted to take off from taxiway (K) parallel to take off designated runway (R33) while the visibility was high and there was no obstacle of FOD (foreign object) on the taxiway,” the release said. “The aircraft accelerated with full take-off power and exceeded the taxiway onto an unpaved area, ending up close to the exit of taxiway (G4), north of taxiway (K),” it added.
A senior official of India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said today that the flying licence of both the pilots “involved in runway excursion incident at Riyadh” has been suspended, pending investigation. Jet Airways, in a statement today, said that it is “in contact with the DGCA and has extended all co-operation with regard to the said incident. The airline will continue to adhere to all requirements as laid down by the regulator.” It added that the matter is under investigation.
A DGCA official here had earlier said that the pilots aborted the take-off after they were informed of a “barrier” on the runway. The aircraft was taxiing at a speed of 100 knots and it veered off the runway due to sudden stopping, the official had said.