The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) advises airlines to be more cautious during the monsoon, issuing a list of “precautions”. “Aircraft operations during monsoon season pose challenges, which of late have resulted in a number of occurrences,” is stated in the Air Safety Circular, issued on July 2, 2019.  

Airlines are urged to put emphasis on conducting stabilized approach;  ensure crew’s awareness of lighting systems at airports, aircraft limitations and of take-off/ landing performance calculations during adverse weather operations;  factor in the fatigue factor in crew rostering; consider latest weather conditions, available NOTAMs and alternates while dispatch planning. 

DGCA also advises making sure that pilots flying during difficult weather conditions are “sufficiently experienced”. This includes not only its own minimum experience requirements but also additional risk assessments by airlines. 

Moreover, the aviation regulator has suspended12 pilots’ permissions to fly, after they were involved in veering incidents. SpiceJet, Air India Express and GoAir had at least six such incidents already.

Similar incidents followed one after another in the few days

“The number of occurrences” referred by the DGCA include multiple incidents at Indian airports. Spice Jet plane veered off the runway at Bhopal (BHO) on June 30, 2019. On the same day, a plane of Air India Express experienced a runway excursion at Mangalore airport (IXE). The following day, another Air India Express aircraft safely landed at Calicut airport (CCJ) after a tailstrike. 

Between July 1-2, 2019, Spice Jet planes were involved on three runway excursions. One instance, a Boeing 737 veered off a runaway and got trapped in the grass at Mumbai International Airport (BOM), leading to flight disruptions and cancellations at the airport. The aircraft was finally pulled out on runway surface on July 4, 2019.