Indigo flight from Delhi diverted to Mumbai owing to bad visibility at Surat airport, passengers fume

Surat airport, unlike other airports operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), does not have a Category 1 (CAT-1) runway


Surat : Passengers on Indigo Flight 6E 6272 from Delhi to Surat had a terrifying experience when the plane was unable to land at Surat airport due to low visibility and was diverted to Mumbai airport to refuel.

According to sources, the visibility at Surat airport on Wednesday morning was less than 500 metres. Due to low visibility, the Indigo flight circled above the airport for a few minutes before the pilot decided to divert the flight to Mumbai.

“It was a terrifying experience for us,” a passenger on the Indigo flight said. I needed to get to Surat for an important meeting, but our flight was unable to land due to poor visibility at the airport. We’re still in Mumbai refuelling the plane. I’m not sure how long it will take me to get to Surat.”

The Indigo flight from Delhi, which was supposed to land at Surat airport at 8am, departed from the Mumbai Airport at about 10:15am.

Surat airport, unlike other airports operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), does not have a Category 1 (CAT-1) runway. CAT-1 is a precision instrument approach and landing with a decision height of at least 60m (200ft) and visibility of at least 800m or a runway visual range of at least 550m.

To make matters worse, the Instrument Landing System (ILS) Glide Path Hut (GP Hut) has been closed since 2019, leaving only the ILS localizer operational at Surat airport. Without an ILS at the airport, pilots must use the manual approach rather than the instrument approach.

As the visibility at the airport drops to less than 500 metres, no pilot is willing to take the risk of landing the aircraft at Surat airport in the absence of an ILS.

It should be noted that the AAI has requested the acquisition of land for the Surat airport expansion. The AAI has requested that the first pocket—A,B, and C—be acquired on a priority basis, and drawings have been submitted to the district collector’s office.

District collector Ayush Oak stated in a letter dated April 28, 2022 to Surat Airport director that the land acquisition blocks must be accurately identified as per the revenue record. It is necessary to superimpose revenue maps on drawings. As a result, in order to carry out this exercise, the DILS office urgently requires digital copies of the drawings in KL format, as well as GPS coordinates. However, it is requested that the drawing in the prescribed format as well as the GPS coordinates be acquired and submitted to the DILR as soon as possible.