Laser Distraction Compromises Safety on IndiGo Flight to Kolkata

By Ivan PetrenkoFeb 28, 2024 12:22 PMNews
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Indigo airplane is parked at an airport
Indigo airplane is parked at an airport. Source: unsplash

During a routine approach for landing at Kolkata's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, an IndiGo flight from Bengaluru to Kolkata encountered an unexpected hazard that momentarily blinded the pilot. On February 23, just as the aircraft, Flight 6E223, prepared for its scheduled evening touchdown, a powerful laser light breached the cockpit's security, casting a potentially disastrous distraction.

The Incident Unfolds

The flight, carrying 165 passengers and a crew of six, was on its final approach when the laser, emanating from an unknown source on the ground, interfered with the pilot's vision. Despite the sudden impairment, the skilled pilot managed to maintain control and safely land the aircraft, a testament to the professionalism and training of the flight crew. The incident was promptly reported to the local authorities, sparking an investigation into the source of the laser.

Ongoing Concerns at Kolkata Airport

The occurrence highlights a recurring issue for flights operating in and out of Kolkata, where the vicinity of the airport to social and celebration venues poses a unique challenge. Despite regulations prohibiting the use of laser lights and drones within specific distances from the airport, enforcement remains a challenge. The local police are tasked with responding to such violations, but the process can be time-consuming and reactive rather than preventive.

Precedents of Distraction

This is not the first instance of flights being endangered by external distractions in Kolkata. Previous reports include a SpiceJet flight's encounter with a kite during descent and pilots' complaints about laser lights during significant festivals. These incidents underscore the critical need for stringent enforcement of regulations and heightened awareness among the public about the risks such activities pose to aviation safety.

The Path Forward

In response to these recurring threats, authorities and the aviation community must work collaboratively to enhance surveillance and enforcement measures around airport vicinities. Public education campaigns could also play a crucial role in mitigating risks, ensuring that celebrations do not compromise flight safety. As the aviation sector continues to navigate these challenges, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance and regulation to protect passengers, crew, and aircraft in the increasingly complex airspace around urban centers.

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