SpiceJet Incident: Whistleblower writes to Aviation Ministry about potential hazard
Following the SpiceJet flight skidding incident at Mumbai, Airports Authority of India's DGM (Aviation Safety), S Mangala, flagged off a potential hazard. Right landing direction saved the SpiceJet aircraft, which would have hit the non-frangible Jet Blast Shield, bursting into flames, had it landed from the opposite direction. There was no RESA (meant to stop overshooting aircraft) beyond the landing-strip on the opposite side.
On 19 September, a SpiceJet flight SG703 overshot the main runway at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport while landing due to slippery conditions during the incessant rains. While all 183 passengers were safe, the aircraft remained stuck in the mud for nearly 24 hours. The incident disrupted air traffic; primary runway operations were affected, leading to flight cancellations and diversions.
Mangala wrote: "Please keep it in mind that if there is an accident of an aircraft with foreign passengers on board, the State of India/GOI, as a single entity, will be held accountable/liable in the International Court of Justice."
Mangala has been writing to concerned authorities, including Directorate General of Civil Aviation, AAI Chairman, Air Traffic Controllers, and the airlines, that a SpiceJet-like accident could happen anytime. The Mumbai airport runway doesn't have a breakable JBS that safely cracks upon impact from overshooting aircraft; instead, it has a hard-metal JBS that explodes upon collision. The non-frangible JBS was installed despite Mangala's opposition.
Rubbishing Mangala's claims, a Mumbai airport official said everything at the airport complies with the specifications of the safety regulator at DGCA and AAI, He added, "The regulator, after careful examination and certification, gives the go-ahead for any development."