HAL Airport saves day for 155 passengers; AirAsia flight low on fuel makes emergency landing
Deccan Chronicle| amit s. upadhye
AirAsia flight low on fuel makes emergency landing after Chennai closed runaway
A file photo of HAL airport
Bengaluru: HAL Airport came to the rescue of some 155 passengers and seven crew of a low-on-fuel AirAsia flight on Thursday night when it opened up its night landing facilities to a commercial airliner, for the very first time since it was closed to civilian traffic in 2008.
In a first of its kind emergency landing at the Military airport, Deccan Chronicle has learnt that the AirAsia flight was flying between Pune and Bengaluru, and upon reaching city air space above Kempegowda International Airport, clogged with aircraft that had been diverted from Chennai which had suspended its operations due to a hitch on the runway on Thursday night, the flight captain was asked to divert the flight to Chennai airport!
But clearly, he couldn't. His AirAsia aircraft was already running low on fuel. He then approached the Air Traffic Control at HAL airport and was obliged immediately.
Luckily for the AirAsia flight, on Thursday night, there were no other scheduled landings to block the runway. "Usually, VIPs including the Chief Minister use the HAL airport for most of the flights as it's easy to reach the airport which is located in the heart of the city. Moreover, HAL airport has night landing facility and in the case of Air Asia flight that came in very handy," a senior HAL official said.
"After landing, the flight was refuelled at HAL airport and it took off for the city"s main airport, KIA, at about 11.30 pm and landed in the next 10 minutes," he explained. The successful emergency landing of the aircraft at HAL has once again showed the necessity of having another airport for Bengaluru.
"In fact we would like to suggest that all the flight diversions of KIA be routed to HAL rather than making them fly to Chennai. We have all the facilities for landing of aircraft at HAL including the night landing facility. It makes no sense to divert flights to Chennai and Coimbatore when HAL airport is right here," the HAL official said.
"Imagine the carbon footprint you are leaving behind. It’s such a waste of fuel to fly to Chennai and fly back to Bengaluru," the official said.
An agreement between Bangalore International Airport Authority and the state government, stipulates that no other airport can operate commercial flights in the domestic and international sector within a radius of 155 km of KIA. HAL handles about 60 landings and take-offs every day.