A major accident was averted after the flight 6E 342 on Lucknow-Patna-Kolkata-Bangalore route carrying Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from Patna developed a snag due to mid-air emptying of fuel.
State Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim said, “It was a deliberate attempt to cause harm to the CM who was continually protesting against demonetization.” He did not rule out the possibility of conspiracy.” There were many common people in the aircraft. He said, “The pilot informed ATC that there was less fuel and all arrangements should be made for crash landing, despite that the plane could not get clearance to land for 40 minutes.”
Directorate General of Civil Aviation has ordered an inquiry into the matter. The state Home department would request the Centre to conduct a thorough investigation. The Bidhananagar Commissionerate has asked the Airport Authority of India to find out what exactly happened.
The A 320 airbus ferrying Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Mukul Roy had left Lucknow at 5.50 pm, one hour behind schedule. It was scheduled to arrive at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport at 8.25 pm. Around 8.05 pm, the pilot announced that the plane was 180 km away from Kolkata and it would reach the NSCBIA as per schedule. At 8.13 pm, the pilot informed ATC that the aircraft was running ‘low on fuel’.
He informed passengers that there was heavy traffic at Kolkata airport and the aircraft was 8th in the queue. The plane finally reached the airport at 8.45 pm, almost 32 minutes after the pilot informed the ATC that there was less fuel in the aircraft.
On getting the information, all arrangements were made for emergency crash landing. Fire brigade and ambulance were kept ready and emergency services personnel cordoned off the area.
It was learnt that the pilot of an Air India flight from Tripura informed the ATC that it sought emergency landing as there was less fuel. A similar complaint was made by the pilot flying the Bengal chief minister. It is learned that the pilot of the flight from Tripura told ATC that it could be kept air-borne for another 3 minutes, while the Indigo pilot put the time-frame at seven minutes, hence priority was given to the flight from Tripura.