Confounded by clouds, pilot returns to Iran
Refuels Plane And Heads Back To City
Mumbai: Dense, dark, rain-bearing cumulonimbus clouds bristling with thunderstorm activity are a pilot’s nightmare and every commander worth his stripes would keep the aircraft at a safe distance from these troublemakers. On Friday, though a few of the notorious clouds hung along the approach path of aircraft descending on the city, most pilots managed to land their planes safely — except for one.
An Iran Air A306 aircraft that flew into Indian airspace from Tehran around noon circled along the east and west of the city for close to an hour as it tried in vain to cut through the bad tropical weather, only to finally give up and fly back to land in Zahedan, Iran.
Iran Air city airport station manager Shahbaaz Busheri sa- returns to Iran.
Aircraft lands at 3 pm (IST) at Zahedan airport, from here it goes to Tehran to refuel and head back to city id that flight IR-810 flew from Zahedan to Tehran, where it refuelled and was expected to land in the city around 2 am on Saturday. “About 140 passengers waiting to board the Mumbai-Tehran flight have been taken care of,” he said.
An air traffic controller said he and his colleagues found it strange that the aircraft should fly back.
“We don’t know what trans- pired on board flight IR-810. After an hour of holding, the commander radioed and said: ‘Diverting due weather.’ We don’t ask for details,” said a senior air traffic controller. “There were some cumulonimbus clouds along the approach path. But other aircraft managed to avoid them and land,” he added.
Just before the Iran Air A300 aircraft flew into the city airspace, a British Airways Boeing 777 landed in the city from London, a Jet Airways Boeing 777 also landed, while a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 that had landed hours ago departed, said the air traffic controller.
“The airline policy on bad weather landings might have forced them to divert. Or it could be some limitation on that day with that particular aircraft,” a senior commander said.
According to flightradar24 data, the A300B4-605R aircraft (EP-IBB) that operated the flight is 24 years old.
Sources said the flight had about 200 passengers on board and another 150 passengers were in the city waiting to board the Mumbai-Tehran flight. Iran Air spokesperson could not be contacted.
The series of events took off at 11.50 am, with the A306 aircraft holding over the Arabian Sea, where it circled twice before heading for the city airport, only to then fly over the southern tip of the island city and head east towards Lonavala, where it circled at 7,000 feet for over half an hour, before climbing out and returning to Iran.
The aircraft landed at 3 pm (IST) at Zahedan airport, the first airport an aircraft flying in from the east would encounter on entering Iran.
Foreign carriers flying into the city generally divert to Ahmedabad or Hyderabad or Bengaluru when they cannot land at their destination, but the flight plan filed for IR-810 had Zahedan listed as the alternative airport, said the controller.
Amitabh Gupta, controller of legal metrology, has asked the government to allow consumers to carry food and drinks inside as they are being overcharged by selling food and drinks in loose form without MRP. For instance, a cold drink is not sold in packaged bottles with MRP, they are sold through soda fountains. “We are trying to ensure consumers’ rights are protected,” said Gupta.
Chavan said the central government was preparing guidelines to regulate pricing of foodstuff that does not have MRP, osas.
“We have been taking strict action against those over-charging in malls, food courts or multiplexes. After the dual pricing law is implemented from August 1, we will start taking action under that rule as well,” said Chavan.
Congress leader Milind Deora criticized the government decision in a tweet (see box), but some people TOIspoke to were happy. Harshita Devna, who is from Bhopal and is studying at a premier college here, watches four-five like popcorn or sam- movies a month. “Movie outings are especially expensive, given that the tickets are costly and basic things like water are also expensive. I go to smaller theatres, and choose the costly multiplexes only for 3D shows,” she cribbed.
Juhi Vartak owns a business and stays at Vile Parle. She said: “It is okay for multiplexes to charge a nominal amount extra but not to the extent that they are doing. It hurts my cinema experience.” She feels especially angry since she is not even allowed to carry water inside.