An Air India flight from Pune to New Delhi had to take off prematurely after the pilot spotted a car on the runway. The flight did not return to Pune and continued it's journey to Delhi, where it landed safely. The aircraft’s fuselage was damaged but there was no damage to any system. The DGCA is investigating the incident.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has stated that the vehicle on the runway belonged to the force and that it came too close to the aircraft, which forced the crew to take off earlier than planned. The vehicle had been cleared for a routine check on the runway. The IAF has stated that the incident is being investigated by the force.
The flight, AI 852 had 180 passengers and crew on board. "During take-off roll while at 120 knots speed, crew saw a jeep and a person on the runway, to avoid conflict they did an early rotation. The aircraft has safely landed at Delhi," the DGCA told PTI.
An Air India spokesperson said, "The A321 aircraft that was scheduled to operate AI 825 to Srinagar was observed to have certain marks towards the empennage area. This aircraft had arrived from Pune on AI 852. The aircraft has been withdrawn for detailed investigation. The CVR and SSFDR (solid state flight data recorder) readouts would be carried out and the findings shared appropriately."
The Pune ATC has been asked to store the recordings, while the airline has been asked to remove the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) for its analysis.
The crew has been de-rostered until the investigations are complete. The DGCA is trying to assess why the pilots did not make a return to the airport and if the pilots were aware of the damage done to the plane.