Mumbai, Nov 19: In an alarming incident, the city airport was plunged into darkness on Sunday November 18 night, after the all-important lights on its runway went off, suspending operations for about half an hour.
For an international airport, the incident is very rare.
The runway of the city airport went out of view and the Instrument Landing System (ILS), which helps planes land, could not be used with no lights to aid operations. “No flight was diverted. Those in air had to hold for about 25-30 minutes,’’ said M G Junghare, general manager, aerodrome, Mumbai airport.
It was at 7.21 pm that the Approach Light System, which includes runway edge identifier lights and others like the taxiway lights, went off throwing operations out of gear. The Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL), which runs the sirport, confirmed the incident. A spokesperson said the lights were restored at 7.49 pm. “There was a circuit problem, apparently a problem with a switchboard. The back-up generator could not take the load. The cause is under investigation and is not confirmed as of now,’’ he said.
Spokesperson of Indian, Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways said there were no flight diversions. But departures and some arrivals were delayed by 30-45 minutes, inconviniencing passengers.
“The matter (darkness on runway) does not pose any air safety hazard as an aircraft can go around even at the last moment. What is significant is that in international airports, such incidents are unheard of. The Mumbai airport, which has ISO-9000 certification, definitely cannot afford such incidents,’’ said the check pilot of an international airline.