An Air India aircraft operating as AI 852 from Pune (India) to Delhi (India) had to do an early rotation as the pilot claimed to have spotted a Jeep and a person on the runway. The aircraft suffered a tail strike during this incident. The A321 however landed safely at Delhi’s IGI International Airport. An early rotation is an occurrence where the pilot lifts the aircraft’s nose wheel off the ground earlier than scheduled.
The Indian aviation regulator, the DGCA, stated that “During take-off roll, while at 120 knots speed, the crew saw a jeep and a person on the runway and to avoid conflict, they performed an early rotation and the aircraft has been withdrawn from service for investigation. Air India has been advised to coordinate with the Pune Air Traffic Control to find out any marking on the runway.”
According to an Air India spokesperson, “The A321 aircraft that was scheduled to operate AI 825 to Srinagar was observed to have certain marks towards the tail area. The cockpit voice recorder and solid-state flight data recorder readouts will be carried out and the findings shared appropriately.”
This is not the first incident of a runway incursion in India, and the numbers keep rising every year. In one of the incidents, a Boeing 737 operated by SpiceJet with 140 passengers on board came to a stop seconds after the pilot applied full thrust for take-off. The reason was that a stray buffalo had come on to the runway and hit one of the engines of the aircraft. Luckily, the pilots were able to stop the aircraft in the nick of time. However, the aircraft's engine suffered damage and had to be replaced.