Air India pilots keep flying despite takeoff mishap

The belly of the Air India Express aircraft was damaged after hitting the Trichy airport wall

Early this morning, a Dubai-bound Air India Express aircraft with 130 passengers and six crew members on board hit the compound wall of Triuchirappalli International Airport while taking off.

Hurtling down the Trichy airport runway at 250 kilometres per hour, an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 struck poles at the end of the runway, rammed into the perimeter wall but still managed to fly. An Air India Express official said, "All passengers were landed safely at Mumbai airport and another aircraft from Mumbai to Dubai was arranged".

Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which investigates aviation accidents and incidents, has been informed about the incident.

"The aircraft should not have been less than 100 feet when passing the antenna".

The pilot in command has 3,600 hours of flying experience on the Boeing 737, including 500 hours as a commander and the first officer has about 3000 hours of experience on the Boeing 737.

The aircraft has sustained some damage. The pilots had replied that the aircraft's systems were operating normally.

The aircraft's wheels had hit the wall, officials here said.

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"The 737s have powerful engines". To say operations were normal is wrong.

Capt Ranganathan dismissed reports that the cockpit seat of one of the pilots slipped back during takeoff.

It is not known whether a technical snag or pilot error led to the incident, the officials here said.

Air traffic in India is booming but Mr Prabhu said on Twitter that the "safety of the passengers is of paramount importance for us". "The government is trying to get political mileage by claiming that India is the fastest growing aviation market which is growing in double digits".

Despite the hit the pilots continued the journey of around four hours and were apparently only informed of the hit once they were air-borne.

After the incident, an internal inquiry has been set up.

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