Last Friday 3 March, a scheduled flight by the Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet was forced to make a diversion due to a braking system problem. The Boeing 737-700 was on a scheduled route from New Delhi – Patna and diverted to Varanasi airport due to the technical malfunction.
SpiceJet flight SG 8271 departed from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi at 6:52 am IST on Friday 3 March. AviationSource writer Gaurav Gowda reports.
The flight had proceeded normally, and the aircraft was scheduled to arrive at Jay Prakash Narayan International Airport, Patna at 8:30 am IST.
When the aircraft was approximately 50km away from the destination airport, the PIC detected a problem with the aircrafts braking system.
Following this, the pilot decided to divert to Varanasi International Airport for a precautionary landing. Generally, an aircraft would land at the nearest airport, but in this case the flight diverted to a distant airport.
To understand why this decision might have been taken by the PIC, let us try to understand the demographics of Patna airport.
Runway conditions at Patna
Jay Prakash Narayan International Airport, Patna is dubbed as one of the riskiest airports in the country because of its short runway length, the airport has a runway length of 2,286m out of which only around 1,954m is usable for the aircraft to takeoff and land due to the restrictions in airport surrounding.
With having issues with the aircraft braking system, the PIC of SG 8271 made a calculated decision to move to Varanasi International airport which has a runway of length 2,745m.
Despite the ATC of Patna giving the flight all clear to land at Patna on priority the PIC decided to divert the flight keeping passenger and aircraft safety in mind.
The aircraft involved in this incident was a Boeing 737-700 which was 14 years old during the incident, this aircraft was originally delivered to Air Berlin in the year 2009, after which it was delivered to Niki airways in Austria on May, 2017.
But again, in October, 2017 this aircraft was flying for TUIfly until May,2018, since then this aircraft has been in service with SpiceJet and is registered as VT-SLP.
Once the aircraft was diverted to Varanasi airport, it landed there safely, and the technical fault was rectified, after which the aircraft continued to its intended destination and landed safely at Patna.
Once the passengers disembarked from the flight, several engaged in a heated argument with the staff at the SpiceJet counter in the arrival hall.
The staff assured that this issue will be looked into and the airline will ensure such incidents do not occur. As for the aircraft, it departed as SG 8729 from Patna to Delhi with almost three-hour delay.