In yet another incident, a rat was reportedly spotted on board a New Delhi-London Air India aircraft on Monday and had to be fumigated at the IGI airport.
The plane had to be withdrawn from service, once it reached New Delhi from Ranchi, and extensive fumigation was carried out inside it.
Even as Air India officials did not confirm the presence on rodents on the plane, they did admit that the aircraft was fumigated.
This is the third such incident reported on Air India flights.
On May 28, based on transcripts, a pilot of a Delhi-London flight had reportedly informed the control room mid-air of a rat in the cockpit.
According to sources, when the aircraft was checked in London, the panic was found to have been created by a ball-point pen near the rudder, however some have claimed there actually was a rat on board.
On August 4, rodents were also allegedly spotted on a Delhi-bound flight from Kolkata.
Sightings of rodents are hard to establish as airlines choose to stay mum and DGCA does not order any inquiries into such reports. According to officials an aircraft in which a rodent has been spotted has to be fumigated.
“Rats may chew on electrical wire which may cause a catastrophe. In such a case, pilots will have no control over any system on board,” a senior commander said.
The most common way for rats to get on board an aircraft is through catering vans. “This is a universal phenomenon. Rats follow the large storage cases in which food trays are kept. The catering vans are like a home for them as food keeps getting dropped,” said an official.