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Poor visibility forces SIA Mumbai flight to do a “go-around”

The pilot of a city-bound Singapore Airlines flight with 245 passengers and 14 crew members onboard was forced to discontinue the approach to landing and do a “go-around”. The flight finally landed at the assigned runway nine minutes behind the scheduled time.

The airline, in a statement attributed the incident to “poor” visibility while an Air Traffic Control (ATC) source said that the go-around took place as the pilot mistook the Juhu airport runway for the assigned runway 09 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA). The ATCs charge has been denied by the airline.

“Singapore Airlines flight SQ422, operating from Singapore to Mumbai on December 4, was scheduled to land on runway 09 at CSIA at 1035 hrs. Due to poor visibility conditions, the crew discontinued the approach to runway 09 at approximately 1,000 feet, in accordance with standard operating procedures,” the airline said.

“The ATC Mumbai then vectored the flight for a subsequent approach onto runway 09 and the flight landed uneventfully at 1044 hours. At no time did the pilots of SQ 422 mistake Juhu airport as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport,” it said.

The Airbus A350 had 245 passengers and 14 crew on board, it said.

The ATC source however said that the SIA flight was asked to do a go-around as the aircraft was noticed “moving towards Juhu airport runway.”

Significantly, the Instrumental Landing System (ILS) was not available at that point of time and approach procedures were being carried out using VORs (Very High-Frequency Omnidirectional Range) navigational aid.

“As a Standard Operating Procedure, if a pilot has failed to sight the runway when on approach, he is asked to do a go-around. For a non-ILS approach, the required aerodrome operating minima is always more than for an ILS approach but then it depends on the operator as well as the type of aircraft in operations. In any case, our radars are there and any deviation is immediately communicated to the pilot to take corrective measures,” the source said.

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