Instead of the pilot of this IndiGo aircraft completing the journey from Pune to Delhi, a passenger helped the plane land safely at the Indira Gandhi International Airport the day before yesterday, it has just been learnt. It was not that the pilot had suddenly become physically indisposed. The incident on Saturday owed to the low visibility conditions caused by the thick haze at the Delhi Airport.
What is disconcerting, it was the airlines that urged the passenger to handle the aircraft as the pilot primarily responsible for the flight was not sufficiently experienced in these situations. Of course, the passenger was a trained pilot, too. Mercifully, that is. He is also an employee of IndiGo. And he is trained and experienced enough to fly the aircraft under such conditions.
According to sources, Flight No. 6E-6571 of IndiGo was to fly from Pune to Delhi on Saturday morning when the private airline’s management was informed of the first fog of the season at the Delhi airport even as passengers boarded the plane at the Pune airport. IndiGo was told there were very low visibility conditions for flying the aircraft to the Delhi Airport and, under these conditions, only a pilot who has had CAT-3B training should fly the aircraft. But one of the pilots in the flight did not have this training.
Sources say that another captain of IndiGo was returning home in Delhi after finishing his duty from this flight. This captain had sufficient experience and CAT-3B training that gives enough exposure to flying aircraft in fog. To save passengers from inconvenience, the airline’s management requested this passenger pilot to fly the aircraft. Only then did the plane reach Delhi by flying. No official statement has been issued by the airlines in this regard.
According to sources in IndiGo, the passenger pilot was not allowed to enter the cockpit directly but had to undergo all the mandatory tests, including the breath analyser test, which every pilot has to pass before flying an aircraft.
Apart from this, all kinds of internal clearances were taken to change the captain of the aircraft. His name was included in the roster. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was informed of the situation.
However, the passenger captain had to enter the cockpit without a uniform. It is believed that the DGCA may impose a fine on the airlines for this.