Delhi-bound IndiGo flight suffers bird hit in Ranchi, passengers safe


More than 140 passengers had a close shave after a Delhi-bound IndiGo flight suffered a bird hit at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport on Wednesday which forced it to abort take off, officials said.

The pilot aborted the take-off soon after the damage was detected. Airport sources said engineers were called to ascertain if there had been any damage due to the bird strike.

The airline made arrangements for the passengers to leave for their destination by another flight.

Birsa Munda Airport director Vinod Kumar Sharma said, “Indigo flight 6E-398 was scheduled to take off from the airport at 9.30 am. There were 144 passengers in the flight. As it started taxiing on the runaway, a bird hit its turbine.”

He said all passengers were safe.

Sharma claimed that bird hits have come down this year at Ranchi airport.

“This is the second incident of bird hit from January to August this year, while the number was five in the previous year,” he said.

Sharma also said they have engaged hired Birsa Agriculture University (BAU), Ranchi to study bird hits and suggest measures to eliminate the threat. “The university will study the reason of bird gathering near the airport and suggest ways on how to make it a bird free zone,” he said.

Environmentalists, however, say mushrooming buildings around the airport has jeopardized aircraft safety as kitchen wastes disposed by the residents attract birds.

Roadside eateries, shops selling meat and fish and irregular picking of garbage from nearby Birsa Chowk, Tupudana road and Hinoo area are aggravating the threat. The tall trees surrounding the airport provide a safe nesting place for the birds, they said.

Birsa airport ready for more planes


Ranchi airport will throw open six additional parking bays from next month enabling passengers to board or alight from 11 aircraft at a time, the expansion mirroring a surge in air travel that the state capital has seen in the last four years.

“We received an approval from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) this month for operating six additional parking bays at Birsa Munda Airport. We will start using these within a week in September,” Ranchi airport director Vinod Kumar Sharma told The Telegraph on Thursday.

Currently, the airport also uses two aerobridges that allow passengers to board aircraft directly from the terminal waiting area. These were introduced in 2013 when the new international terminal building was opened.

Sharma said two more aerobridges were being planned, but these would take another six months to come up.

“The work to install two more aerobridges was delayed due to technical reasons. We are in the final phase of awarding tenders for construction of aerobridges. Construction would be completed in the next six months. We hope to make these operational in 2020,” he said.

Sharma said marking and installation of lights for the additional parking bays, or apron area, had been completed in February-March. Subsequently, DGCA officials conducted an inspection. Its approval reached Ranchi earlier this month.

As of now, the apron area of Ranchi airport can accommodate three Airbus (A-320) and two 19-seater ATR planes. The new apron facility can accommodate five Airbus and one ATR plane at one time.

This means, as many as eight Airbus and three ATR planes can be parked at one time at the airport.

As per data shared by the transport department, while there were only 11 flights carrying 6 lakh passengers annually in 2014, 2018 saw 30 flights operating out of Ranchi.

The number of passengers is estimated to touch 22 lakh during 2018-19.

“With the airport witnessing increasing passenger footfall it was necessary to provide facilities for accommodating more planes. Once the new apron area functions, we expect more planes to serve Ranchi which, in turn, would lead to greater passenger flow. The new apron would make it possible for nearly 80 flights to operate from the airport in a day,” said a senior official in the Ranchi Airport.

Ranchi airport, spread over 1,568 acre, handled 6 lakh passengers in 2014-15. But the number increased to 10 lakh in 2015-16, 13 lakh in 2016-17 and 16 lakh in 2017-18.

New JPCC chief gets thunderous welcome


A sea of supporters gave a thunderous welcome to Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee’s (JPCC) newly appointed president Rameshwar Oraon amid loud beats of Dhols and Nagadas at the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi on Wednesday. Oraon, a former IPS officer, who replaced another former IPS officer Ajoy Kumar at the helm in the Congress party here, was accompanied by the five executive presidents, who will take the reins of the party in their hand along with Oraon in Jharkhand.

Even though the Congress party had to face a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year, Oraon seemed to be oozing with confidence on Wednesday as he walked out of the airport along with his team and greeted the party workers. “Sonia Madam Ki Lalkar, Badlo Badlo Yeh Sarkar (Sonia Madam has challenged to uproot this Government). This will be our slogan for the upcoming Assembly elections in Jharkhand,” said Oraon.

Interestingly, the new team on the driving seat for the Congress party here has representatives from Scheduled Tribe, Scheduled Caste, Minority and even General caste. Manas Sinha, Rajesh Thakur, Keshav Mahto Kamlesh, Sanjay Paswan and Irfan Ansari –made executive presidents of the JPCC to maintain unity among workers and add a new spark of life to the otherwise ailing party—also seemed visibly enthusiastic about the polls.

“The sea of supporters here is evidence to Congress party’s growing support. Our role hereon will be to unite all our workers and put in all our efforts in winning the upcoming elections,” said Oraon as chants of Rahul Gandhi Zindabad and Sonia Gandhi Zindabad reverberated at the Congress party’s State headquarters in Ranchi later in the day.

Oraon admitted that the party has failed to gather all its workers and translate their electioneering into votes in the past. He, however, said that Congress party still found several supporters in the rural areas of Jharkhand and the party will cash on this support. “If you travel to the interiors, you will notice that people are unhappy with the ruling Government and they have a soft corner for the Congress party. I know that if we put in efforts, the results will be visible in the next elections,” said Oraon.

He added that the tribal community in Jharkhand is unhappy with the Government’s constant efforts of making changes to the Chottanagpur Tenancy Act (CNT) and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act (SPT). “We will go to the interiors and inform the people about the failures of the incumbent Government,” Oraon said.

Oraon and his team of five executive presidents were appointed by party’s National President Sonia Gandhi on Monday. The position of President in JPCC remained vacant since former MP Ajoy Kumar’s resignation on August 9. Kumar, in his resignation, ridiculed his fellow leaders in the party which left many senior leaders red faced here. Oraon, however, said on Wednesday that he did not wish to talk about the past and only wants to focus on the future.

The party took out a huge rally from airport to Congress Bhavan via Rajendra Chowk, Mahatma Gandhi Road and Albert Ekka Chowk on Wednesday. During the rally, Oraon and his team garlanded statues of freedom fighters, including tribal hero Birsa Munda, Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose and BR Ambedkar.

GoAir flight meets with accident at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport: Narrow escape for 165 passengers


A GoAir flight met a freak accident after its rear portion hit runway during landing. Bengaluru-Ranchi flight G-8/375 was carrying 165 passengers when its rear portion hit the runway of Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi. The pilot was able to control the flight and all passengers were deplaned safely.

The incident took place at 1:30 pm on Sunday. A flight engineer carried out a check up of the the airplane which was then declared grounded. The plane was to take-off for Bengaluru at 2.20 pm but it was not allowed to take off till 7.30 pm.

Passengers who were due to travel to Bengalur were forced to wait at the Ranchi airport. They were onboarded on flight G6/116 incoming from New Delhi and the plane proceeded to Bengaluru.

Passengers who were due to travel to New Delhi were also inconvenienced. They were told that the flight for New Delhi will leave by 8:30 pm. However, the flight was cancelled at 9 pm.