New Delhi, Dec 1 Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Thursday alleged that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's life is in danger.
TMC added that the Wednesday night incident where an IndiGo flight carrying her was made to hover for over half an hour in Kolkata sky before it landed at the NSCBI Airport was a proof of it.
The airport authorities said that the flight carrying Mamata Banerjee had taken off at 7:35 pm from Patna. The flight was an hour behind schedule and it landed in Kolkata shortly before 9 pm. The flight landed after hovering in Kolkata sky for 30 minutes due to technical reasons.
Trinamool Congress on the incident:
Urban Development Minister of West Bengal, Firhad Hakim, who was accompanying Mamata took strong exception that the flight was given a delayed permission from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) to land. He said it was a conspiracy to eliminate the CM.
The minister also alleged that though the pilot had sought permission to land from the ATC as it was short on fuel, ATC kept the flight on hold.
TMC lawmaker Mukul Roy was quoted to saying, "I was told on landing that the pilot had informed the ATC around 8:13 pm that the aircraft was low on fuel. Still the flight landed at 8:45 pm. Which means a flight with West Bengal Chief Minister on board was in air despite being low on fuel."
ATC on the incident:
The ATC is denying that the pilot had informed them that the flight was low on fuel. ATC also further informed that the flight was not kept in the air too long and that when the flight reached Kolkata the weather was bad and there was air traffic congestion. The pilot was asked to circle over Kolkata airspace for around half an hour.
The pilot then had informed ATC that he was low on fuel. ATC then allowed him to land on priority basis. As part of the Standard Operating Procedures, emergency services like fire engines and ambulances were sent when the flight landed.
IndiGo on the incident:
Budget passenger carrier IndiGo also rebutted the allegations by stating that its flight -- 6E 342 -- made a normal landing at Kolkata airport on Wednesday night.
"The flight was kept on hold for landing due to air traffic congestion at Kolkata. The pilot operating 6E-342 had advised the ATC that he has eight minutes of extra holding fuel over Kolkata (destination) before commencing diversion to the planned alternate," the airline said in a statement.
"However, this information was misunderstood by the air traffic controller, who assumed that the aircraft had only eight minutes of total fuel left. The misinterpretation of the information by ATC controller led ATC to instruct fire engines and ambulances to be stationed at Kolkata airport."
"We would like to clarify - IndiGo Captain at no stage declared a fuel priority or an emergency. Subsequently, the airplane made a normal landing at Kolkata airport at 8.40 p.m. (delayed by an hour due to congestion)."
The airline said that the fuel on arrival was more than the required minimum diversion fuel.
"There has been no violation or breach of any regulatory requirement in the above mentioned scenario," the statement added.
"IndiGo has responded to the queries made by the regulator. At IndiGo, safety of passengers, crew and the aircraft is the utmost priority and at no stage it can be compromised."
IndiGo flight from Patna to Kolkata had normal landing at Kolkata airport,flight ws kept on hold due to air traffic-IndiGo on WB CM's flight— ANI (@ANI_news) December 1, 2016
Misinterpretation by ATC controller led him to instruct fire engines&ambulances to be stationed at Kolkata airport: IndiGo on WB CM's flight— ANI (@ANI_news) December 1, 2016
Captain at no stage declared a fuel priority or emergency. Fuel on arrival was more than minimum diversion fuel: IndiGo on WB CM's flight— ANI (@ANI_news) December 1, 2016
Government on the incident:
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that an inquiry will be ordered to determine why three airplanes including the one on which Mamata Banerjee was on board did not have as much fuel as required to be able to withstand a delay in landing.
The chief of eastern Airports Authority of India, Sanjay Jain was quoted to say, "There was no conspiracy against the Chief Minister."
Jayant Sinha Minister of State Civil Aviation on WB CM's flight was quoted saying "Aircraft hovered for 13 minutes which is well under DGCA guidelines". He further added that ministry has ordered an inquiry into the incident.