Tuesday night, a large storm came across the city of Mumbai, ultimately leading to a runway excursion and even more headaches for controllers and airport officials on the already-stressful evening.
By 1800HRS (local time), there were 5 go-arounds that had taken place, causing the airport to shut operations for about 40 minutes, and the situation started worsening thereafter.
SpiceJet flight SG 703, (a B737-800WL, VT-SGZ) from Varanasi was on its way to Mumbai at around 21:50HRS, and performed a rather standard approach and landing sequence. On final approach to RWY27 of Mumbai, the B737 reportedly ballooned over the threshold, causing the aircraft to land extremely beyond the touchdown zone. With addition to the long landing and poor braking performance of the 737, extreme winds, and reduced visibility, it was difficult for the pilots to observe the runway correctly. The 737 overshot the runway at 21:52HRS, causing the nose wheel and the main landing gear wheels to sink into the mud/grass field at the end of the runway. The aircraft came to a stop (near RWY09) and all of the 183 passengers and crew onboard were evacuated safely, using safety slides. No fire was reported and so far no casualties have been reported, but the aircraft has suffered substantial damage.
The 737 still remains on the incident site/position with the airport ground staff trying their best to clear the main operating runway in a terrible weather so that the airport’s operations resume as soon as possible.
The airport was immediately closed for operations with all the arriving flights being diverted to other local airports like (DEL – Delhi Intl Airport, AMD – Ahmedabad Airport, HYD – Hyderabad Airport, MAA – Chennai Airport, NAG – Nagpur Airport, BLR – Bangalore Airport).
With all the major flights coming in from London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Toronto, it was just the beginning of the peak time of Mumbai’s operation. The flights were kept in holding pattern for about an hour after the incident and later were directed to other airports.
An investigation will be started soon, and the main reason for the incident besides weather is still unknown. Many areas of Mumbai airport such as the cargo hold area, the gates and remote stands too were submerged in ankle-deep water, damaging ground vehicles and equipment whilst also affecting the flight schedules. With the 737 being stuck at the end of main runway 27, many heavy delays are expected.
List of international flights diverted after the incident:
AC46 / Air Canada B787-9 (C-FGEI) from Toronto ~ diverted to Hyderabad (HYD)
XT852 / Air Asia Indonesia A330-343 (PK-XRC) from Kuala Lumpur ~ diverted to Chennai (MAA)
LX154 / Swiss A330-343 (HB-JHJ) from Zurich ~ diverted to Hyderabad (HYD)
AI343 / Air India B787-8 (VT-ANU) from Bangkok ~ diverted to Chennai (MAA)
OD215 / Malindo Air & MH194 Malaysia Airlines B737-800WL (2) from Kuala Lumpur ~ diverted to Ahmedabad (AMD)
LH764 / Lufthansa A350-900XWB (D-AIXD) from Munich ~ diverted to Delhi (DEL)
AF218 / Air France B777-200ER (F-GSPS) from Paris ~ diverted to Banglore (BLR)
BA139 / British Airways B787-9 (G-ZBKM) from London ~ diverted to Chennai (MAA)
CX663 / Cathay Pacific A330-343 (B-LBC) from Hong Kong ~ diverted to Chennai (MAA)
PG733 / Bangkok Airways A320 (HS-PPH) from Bangkok ~ diverted to Nagpur (NAG)
CA889 / Air China A330-343 (B-5916) from Beijing ~ diverted to Delhi (DEL)
LH 764 / Lufthansa B747-400 (D-ABVZ) from Frankfurt ~ diverted to Bangalore (BLR)
MS968 / Egypt Air B737-800WL (SU-GEB) from Cairo ~ diverted to Muscat (MCT)
Secondary RWY32 has been started for ops with flights initially only departing out of Mumbai. The first flight to land after the incident was a Thai Airways B777-200ER (HS-TJV) from Bangkok which landed on RWY32.
There is an average delay of 3 hours, with an expectation of increased delayed departures from Mumbai tomorrow.