India’s latest VIP aircraft found itself a little bit stuck last week. The specially fitted Boeing 777, known as Air India One, was taxiing at the HAL Airport in Bangalore when it took a wrong turn and got stuck for hours. The aircraft had to be towed back to the parking bay prior to restarting the takeoff procedure the next day.
The Indian government took delivery of its newest aircraft in October 2020, two new Boeing 777-300ERs, retrofitted in Dallas with state-of-the-art defense systems. These planes have been serving as Air India One, the official aircraft of the Prime Minister, President, and Vice President of the country.
However, while they are not flying around the country’s leadership, these 777s are training for a variety of missions. Last week, the first Air India One, registered VT-ALW/K-7067, made its way to Bangalore during a routine mission. However, this time, the aircraft found itself in a bit of a struggle, according to the Times of India.
The aircraft landed at HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) Airport in the heart of Bangalore. This runway is exclusively used for aircraft testing and military operations, with no commercial flights. The Boeing 777 took off from Delhi Airport at 03:48 AM on Friday and landed in Bangalore at 08:32 AM local time. This 4 hour and 45-minute flight was meant to be a regular training flight.
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After a safe arrival, VT-ALW prepared to depart HAL Airport at around 11:00 AM the same morning. The aircraft was being flown by a trainee pilot at this point, according to a HAL official, and began taxiing toward the runway. At the turning pad, the pilot turned left instead of right, leaving the aircraft stuck before the runway and unable to turn back and try again.
Officials emphasized that the pilot stopped immediately after turning the wrong way, and there was no damage to the 777. However, since HAL Airport is only used for smaller military aircraft, the plane was stuck for hours. This is likely since towing equipment for larger planes was brought in from the commercial Kempegowda International Airport (KIA).
— R.Giridharan (@RGiridharan10) April 15, 2021
The 777’s awkward position meant two private aircraft had to be rerouted to KIA since the runway was effectively closed. The aircraft was brought back to the parking bay that night and took off for its return flight to New Delhi the next morning at 09:20 AM. Since then, VT-ALW has taken off from a new mission today and is currently flying over New Delhi.
In a statement, HAL and KIA spokesperson official said,
“The trainee pilot stopped at the turning pad and there was no overshooting of the runway. There were no commercial passengers in the aircraft.”
While the Prime Minister’s two 777s have not seen too much flying in recent months, this will change soon. As international trips join the itinerary of world leader’s again, expect the Air India One to become a popular sight of airports globally.
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