Flights to Doha longer as Indian carriers skip UAE; take Pak, Iran routes

Flights from Mumbai and Kerala will also have to transit through these routes due torestrictions

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Current Affairs : Fliers from India will now spend an additional half hour on their flights to Doha, with the worsening crisis in the Persian Gulf prompting carriers to skip airspace over the UAE.

Air India Express, IndiGo and Jet Airways operate flights between Indian cities and Doha. Flights out of Delhi fly over Pakistan and Iran to reach the Qatari capital. Those from Mumbai and Kerala used to fly over Oman and the UAE. These will now also fly over Pakistan and Iran.

On Monday, Saudi Qatar Rift , the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. They also suspended air, sea and land transport.

The UAE also asked all foreign airlines to obtain prior clearance to use its airspace for Doha flights. The situation worsened on Tuesday, with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia revoking the licence of Qatar Airways to operate in their territory.

With tension high, India airlines are preparing to deal with the crisis.

“All scheduled flights to and from Doha will operate on the alternative northern routes via Iran, avoiding the UAE airspace,” said a Jet Airways spokesperson. “As a result, flights will be 10 to 40 minutes longer.”

He added the airline was planning to augment its crew to deal with the additional flying time.

Jet is also trying to get clearance from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the UAE to fly over the country. “Our schedules have been provided to the GCAA. Once approved, we will be able to resume operating on the normal routes,” the airline said.

Last year, around 1.6 million passengers travelled between India and Doha, making it the fifth-busiest destination in the Gulf for travellers from here, after Dubai, Muscat, Kuwait and Jeddah. This figure does not include onward traffic.

Qatar Airways flies to 14 cities in India; 70-80 per cent of its passengers travel onward.

Aviation sources said Qatar Airways might drop fares to sustain its bookings. “Qatar relies on traffic from its neighbouring countries. Now, the airline will depend more on India and other such nations to fill up its flights to Europe and the US.”

Air traffic to the Gulf is thin during Ramzan, but domestic airways have experienced an increase in booking. This is because those who had booked one-stop flights, through Dubai or Sharjah, are now buying tickets on other flights, a sector executive said. Read More

Nose wheel snag, pilot error may have led to Jet flight veering off runway

The Boeing aircraft veered 250 metres off the runway and its nose gear collapsed

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A snag in nose wheel steering or a pilot error may have led to the veering of Jet Airways Accident Mumbai-bound Boeing 737 flight at Goa airport on Tuesday morning.

The incident took place at 4.45 am when the aircraft carrying 154 passengers and seven crew was lining up for take off at the runway. Ten passengers were hurt during evacuation.

An investigation is underway to find the reasons behind the incident. Investigators will check the aircraft digital flight data recorder to know the cause.

Investigators will also check runway surface conditions and the work patterns of the pilots.

The Boeing aircraft veered 250 metres off the runway and its nose gear collapsed after getting bigger down in soft ground.

Human error may have led to the incident. Breaking News An incorrect application of take off go around thrust (TOGA) can lead to runway excursions. “If the switch is pressed at an inappropriate time, before stabilising of thrust and proper line up on the runway, the aircraft can achieve take off thrust and lose directional control,” a senior commander said.

The other probability could be a malfunction in aircraft auto throttle system which is designed to provide the required level of thrust to engines in various stages of flight.

” I believe that in light of the Boeing 737NG in the past having issues with nose wheel and main wheel there could also be a possibility of the nose wheel steering or the tiller being unresponsive to pilot input thereby preventing the aircraft from being aligned with the runway heading in time for take-off,” said aviation consultant Mark Martin.

“A significant factor that emerges with this incident in Goa is that morning winds at Dabolim Airfield tend to gust between 15Kts (28 km/per Hour) to 30 kts (68 km/per hour) during between 0500 and 0900 which as we know commonly know as the “Sea-Breeze-Land-Breeze” phenomena; and as a result, this may have also acted as an external force factor with deviating Boeing 737off its assigned runway heading and eventually off the runway,” Martin added.

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