The ‘serious incident’ of Etihad Airways A320, which suffered a temporary runway excursion and damaged five runway edge lights, was reevaluated by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as less severe than initially perceived.

On June 20, 2019, an Etihad Airbus A320-200 (registered as A6-EIT) during the flight EY-250 from Abu Dhabi (UAE) to Kozhikode (India) was on its second landing approach to Kolkata’s runway. After crossing the threshold, the aircraft drifted away to the right from the runway’s centerline and came into contact with five runway edge lights, damaging two right-hand main tires.

“The occurrence was classified as a 'serious incident' after the initial investigation phase,” the final report issued by GCAA on September 9, 2020, reads. “However, the occurrence was then re-classified to an ‘incident’ based on the severity.”

The report goes on to further identify factors that contributed to the incident. In the time of the occurrence, the runway’s visibility was heavily affected by rain and lack of centerline lighting. This prompted the commander to perform a go-around after its initial approach due to a potential hydroplane of the aircraft.

After its second approach, the aircraft crossed the threshold and the commander’s situational awareness was reportedly “adversely affected by his expectation that the aircraft would remain aligned with the centerline until touchdown, since the aircraft was aligned when he overflew the centerline at the threshold.”

The report also notes that the co-pilot did not intervene to attract the commander’s attention, despite being aware that the plane shifted from the runway centerline.  The Air Accident Investigation Sector concluded the report by recommending to place “particular emphasis on the need of assertiveness of callout(s)” to be made by the monitoring pilot.

The Airbus A320-200 carried eight crew and 116 passengers. No injuries were sustained during the incident.