Bhubaneswar, June 25: Passengers aboard an Air India flight from Delhi to Bhuba-neswar had a scare as the plane was hit by a bird while landing at the Biju Patnaik Airport here this afternoon.
The bird hit an engine of the aircraft while it was preparing to land at 1.55pm, said sources. The AI flight 878 was carrying 150 passengers.
Because of the damaged engine, it’s departure to New Delhi has been delayed. Though the return flight was scheduled to take off at 2.40pm, airport sources said it would not be able to make the return journey before 2.40am.
The inconvenienced passengers were put up at different hotels of the city. “Engineers from Delhi have already reached here and the repair work is going on. The plane is likely to take off at 2.30am on Sunday,” said an official at the Biju Patnaik Airport. Among others, NCC director general Lt General P.S. Bhalla was stranded in Bhubaneswar because of the delay.
This was not the first case of a bird hit at the Bhubaneswar airport. In August last year, a Delhi-bound Indigo flight had to make an emergency landing here under similar circumstances. In December, a Kingfisher flight was grounded for nearly three hours following a bird hit.
“We have asked the state government to remove garb-age and clean up the airport surroundings several times in the past,” said an official, adding that while it was their responsibility to keep the place clean from inside, it was the government’s duty to keep outer environs litter-free.
Airport sources said that the runway area should be clean. They said a stretch of 5 to 10km should be kept garbage-free so that it did not attract birds.
Centre-appointed advisor for the Biju Patnaik Airport Prasanna Kumar Mangaraj said neither the government agencies nor the airport authorities had followed any norms in Bhubaneswar. “I have repeatedly told the airport authorities and the government agencies to clear all slums and the garbage near the airport. But no action has been taken so far,” he said.