The untold story of Jet Airways Flight 9W555: How an airline and its pilot nearly crashed a passenger plane with 150 people onboard

By Jacob K Philip

An incident that was hardly noticed by the national media, though it was one of the gravest of the safety incidents ever occurred at any of the Indian airports, is bound to land Jet Airways, the operator airline, in deep trouble in the coming days.
The DGCA is viewing the incident very seriously and by all indications, both airline and the pilot who was hailed by the local newspapers and the social media as a hero who miraculously saved the lives of 142  odd passengers and eight crew, are to face the music.
It was at Kochi airport, Kerala, a southern state of India, that the chain of events that culminated in the near-disaster, started on the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 18, 2015.
When Jet Airways flight 9W 555, a Boeing 737-800, arrived from Doha, the Capital of Qatar, over Kochi at 5.45 in the morning, there were not enough visibility for the aircraft to land because of the haze that followed a heavy rain during the previous night. After holding over Kochi for a almost half an hour, the pilot decided to divert to Trivandrum. When it reached Trivandrum, visibility at Trivandrum also was less than what required for a visual landing. (ILS was not available because of a calibration issue).
The captain of the aircraft informed the Air Traffic Control (ATC) that the fuel levels were running low and he should be permitted to attempt landings even though the visibility was insufficient. The pilot tried to land from the ’14’ end of the runway thrice. By the time fuel level dropped to alarming levels according to the pilot and he made a final attempt at the other end of the runway, almost blindly. In between, he made a May Day call also.
A full emergency was declared (even before the May Day call) at the airport and all the steps were taken as per the SOP. ( Getting ambulances ready, informing city fire services also and the alerting the hospitals in the pre-made panel etc.).
The pilot however could manage to land the aircraft. The landing turned out to be without any hitch.
The whole incident would never have attracted not much of an attention, being one of the numerous diversion incidents during the inclement weather in Kerala airports, but for the grave issue of shortage of fuel involved and for the desperate frantic way the pilot behaved , making even a May Day call.
And it indeed was one of the most serious safety occurrences that could happen at any airport. And the government and the regulation authorities should be taking immediate actions, treating the incident at par with an actual air crash.
Here is why:

The core of the incident is a passenger aircraft using up almost all the fuel in-flight. There could be only three reasons for such a rarest of rare occurrence:

  1. The fuel policy of the airline that is not in line with international safety standards
  2.  Erroneous implementation of the fuel policy (If the policy was perfect)
  3. Wrong judgement and short-sighted en-route planning and erroneous/belated decision making of the pilot.

There are only remote chances for 1 to be true, because the SOPs simply will always be correct, everywhere, for all organizations.

So we can pass on to 2:
Though the fuel planning method vary across airlines, the fuel requirement for Boeing 737-800 aircraft is generally calculated as the sum of the following:

  1. Fuel to reach the destination
  2. Fuel to reach an alternate airport from the destination
  3. Fuel to fly for 45 minutes at cruising altitude from the alternate airport
  4. Fuel for planned hold
  5. Fuel to taxi
  6. 5% contingency.

So for B737-800s that fly from Doha to Kochi covering 1677 nm ( 3106 km), each of these items will work out like this:

  1. Fuel to reach the destination (kochi) = 10167 kgm (Allowing an allownace for a headwind of 50kts).
  2. Fuel to reach Trivandrum, the alternate airport, 191 km(103nm) away from kochi – 1497 kgm
  3. Fuel to fly for 45 minutes at cruising altitude from Trivandrum, the alternate airport: 2701 kgm
  4. Fuel for holding for 30 minutes: 1800 kgm
  5. Taxi fuel: 200kgm

The total of 1 to 5 is 16365 kgm

So 5% for contingency is 818.25 kgm

Therefore, the all-up total fuel required is 17183 kgm or 21478 litres

And the total fuel capacity of the aircraft is 20894 kgm (26118 litres).

Even if the aircraft had only 17183 kgm and not the maximum capacity of 20894 kgm, the 9W555 would have had 7016 kgm of fuel left when it reached Kochi.
Imagine it had spent an entire 30 minutes of holding time at Kochi. So the remaining fuel when it left for Trivandrum was 5216 kgm.
On reaching Trivandrum the fuel level would have become 5216-1497 kgm = 3719 kgm.
And how much time it spent at Trivandrum to do the three missed approaches and go-arounds? On 7.03 am, it had touched down. It reached Kochi by 5.50 AM. If it had spent 30 minutes at Kochi and it left it must have left Kochi by 6.20 AM. So, within 43 minutes, it reached Trivandrum, missed three approaches and did the final landing. Deducting the time taken by these exercises, the flying time turns out to be 15 minutes- that is to reach over Trivandrum.

So when the Captain decided to land blindly on a runway he could not see even from a height of 1500m, endangering the lives of all souls on the plane, there were 1379 kgm or 1723 litrs of fuel in the wing tanks. Enough for him to stay up for 28 minutes.
(But had the aircraft been filled up to maximum quantity, that is 20894 kgm, the quantum of the remaining fuel would have been as much as 3711 kgm).

Then why he went for the deadly gamble?

The reason should be one of the three:

  1. The pilot read the remaining fuel quantity erroneously
  2. The pilot did understand the figure correctly, but failed to calculate correctly the reaming time he could be airborne with that much fuel
  3. The fuel quantity indeed was too low. Much lower than the 1723 kgm. May be a couple of hundreds only.

If the reason was 1 or 2, the pilot is guilty of endangering the lives of a plane full of people including himself and the crew.

And if the reason was three, the pilot again is the one responsible- theoretically, at least. It is the duty of the pilot, and pilot alone, to ensure that he had enough fuel in his plane to reach the destination safely.
But it remains just a theory, for most of the private airlines in India, says an Air India commander based at Chennai who flies Gulf routes regularly.

“Being a public sector airlines and because of the presence of an employee’s union, the commanders, who are the real authority when it comes to the safety of the aircraft they fly, still do assert in Air India. But these young boys in the private airlines won’t dare..” says the Captain with over 15 years of flying experience.
And it is not budget airlines alone try to cut cost at all fronts, even if that is by comprising safety.
But even if the fuel planning policy of the airline was a culprit, the Captain of flight 9W555 has still more to answer.

1. The assessment of  the significance of an early warning received

Just five minutes after it left Kochi, the Trivandrum Area Control had passed on a crucial piece of information to Flight 9W555. They said the the visibility at Trivandrum, which was 3000 m when the aircraft started its flight to the airport, had suddenly dropped to 1500 m.   But the Captain was not to turn back.
He expressed his confidence that he can land on ‘converted minima’. (The minimum practical visibility required to land an aircraft even when the stipulated visibility is not available. The visual range is calculated by converting the meteorological visibility).
He could have made the landing as per this calculation but for just one crucial thing he overlooked. That was clouds. If clouds are there at low altitudes, all the calculations would turn upside down.
And that exactly was what happened a few minutes after at Trivandrum.

2. Briefing the ATC of the available fuel.

On way to Trivandrum from Kochi, the pilot had informed the Trivandrum ATC  that he had enough fuel  to fly for one more hour.  It was when the aircraft was around 12 minutes away from Trivandrum that this information about the fuel quantity was given to the ATC as an answer to a routine query.

So as per his own estimation, he had got only 48 minutes of fuel left when reached above Trivandrum airport. One missed approach will cost 7 minutes, approximately. So the time for three approaches is 21 minutes.

But there was a problem. The fuel consumption for B737-800 aircraft at approach levels (around 3000ft) is almost 1.5 times of the consumption in cruising levels. So at the end of three approaches he would only have fuel for for 18 minutes left instead of 27 minutes. Or roughly 1092 kgm or 1365 litters of fuel.
So when he decided at last to land blindly on Runway 32 after saying a “Good Bye” to the ATC, he actually had got fuel for 18 minutes left, if what he said to Trivandrum ATC before indeed was correct.
Why he went for the do-or-die landing where chances of crash were much so high, with 1365 litters of inflammable fuel in his wings? Perplexing, indeed.

3. The selection of the runway

At Trivandrum, the ILS is installed at the North-West or 32 end of the runway. The other end, the south-east one, is denoted by the shortened bearing, 14.
On the fateful morning, the ILS was not operative as said earlier. So we may think it was natural for the pilot to align to land from 14 end.
But it was not so. At Trivandrum, only wide body aircraft choose runway 14 these days because the width to turn from the other end is less when land on 32 end. For a narrow body aircraft like Boring 737-800, it never was a problem. The obvious choice was 32.
The reasons were two:

  1. When landing from 32 end, the available runway length would be more. It was because, the threshold, the first point on runway for the aircraft to touch on landing, is only 135m from the end for 32, But for 14, it is 406 m away from the runway end. When attempting to land on a runway in low visibility and in an urgency, no pilot would opt for a short runway.
  2. When trying to land on a runway with no ILS, the main navigational equipment the pilot got is his eyes. He has to see the runway and surroundings clearly. But when an aircraft approaches from 14 end, the morning sunlight would be falling right on the pilot’s face, effectively blinding him.

But even as the perplexed ATC people were watching, he tried not just once, but three times to land from that very side- wasting precious time and fuel.

When trying to land on the same end of the runway after an approach was missed, the aircraft will have to do a ‘go around’ to align again to that end again. That means more flying and alas, more loss of fuel.

And in the end, from where he could make the landing?

From the 32 end, of course !

4. The timing of the May Day call

When did the captain actually make the May Day call that simply transformed the very character of the whole incident?
Not before the last attempt, as one would expect.
The call had already been made after the second attempt to land. And at that time, the pilot was having enough fuel to stay in the skies comfortably for 23 more minutes.
After the May Day call he tried another attempt at the same, short, runway 14.  And only after spending fuel for another 7 minutes that he could realize that runway 32 was the better choice.

The Good Bye to the ATC too to be mentioned here. It is highly unusual to end the communication with the ATC with a Good Bye. Usually it is something like “Good Day”. And the situation in which the Good Bye was uttered never lost on the ATC people.

Jet Airways, the airline and its selection of alternate airports

It is only commonsense that, chances are much high for same climatic conditions to prevail at Trivandrum and at Kochi within a span of an hour or less. If the visibility at Kochi is less, that at Trivandrum too would be less, being located only a few hundred kms away on the same western cost of Kerala. So it is sensible to NOT to set Trivandrum as an alternate airport, if the safety of passengers is indeed the main criteria.
That is why for Air India, the alternate airport is either Bangalore or Chennai and for Air Arabia, it is Coimbatore.

But then why it is Trivandrum for Jet Airways?

The answer is obvious. Private airlines are more eager to reduce the flying expenditure by all means and they think they can get away with it. It is only to fulfill a safety requirement that they fix an alternate airport in the first place. And when being compelled to do so, they select the nearest airport. Nearest airport means less flying time and less fuel.

Some other facts

What actually was the available visibility at Trivandrum when 9W555 did the reckless landing?
It was 1500 m.
And what was the actual distance required?
For runway 32, it was 2400m and for runway 14 it was 2100 m.  That was the theory.  But for all practical purposes, a visibility of 1500 m is pretty comfortable to land, says an Air India pilot- that is, if the sky is clear. The problem that morning at Trivandrum was that, in addition to the low visibility, there were clouds hanging around at an elevation 450 m or so. So when coming down to land from 900 m, that indeed would have hidden the runway from the pilot.

The May Day call
Unlike many tend to think, the utterance of a May Day call (it was SOS earlier days- Save Our Souls) by an aircraft on the final approaches at an airport is actually depriving the pilot of all the assistance from the ATC. Once the words are out, the ATC will cease all communications with him and he will be on his own then onward. That is to not to disturb the pilot when he frantically would be trying to manage the landing. He then has full freedom to resort to any action he thinks that would save the flight.  No one will interrupt him. And on Tuesday, the ATC at Trivandrum did exactly follow this dictum. Even when the aircraft’s nose pointed right towards the tower for a while during the final moments before the landing, they never tried to yell at the pilot, even as they really got terrified. With the May Day call, the preparations to handle the emergency did not escalate, though, at the airport during this  period. It was because the airport had declared a full emergency even before the May Day call was made and the SOP for that was already being followed. So there were nothing more to be done on the ground, except staying alert, expecting a crash any moment.

(Jacob K Philip, a Doha based aviation analyst, is the honorary editor of Indian Aviation News Net. He can be reached at jacob@indianaviationnews.net)
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Comments

  • venk  On August 25, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Mr.Jacob
    fuel policy of all airlines are approved by the regulator and the pilots of all airline follow the guidline to the T no would risk his license for the company.
    Carrying extra fuel means buring extra fuel in air to carry that fuel…which in turn is causing extra emission …carrying extra fuelis not the solution but it is our airports that have bring in the reliability to tha navigation system and upgrade all runways to international standards.
    Making approach to 14 is logical based on the approach heading of the aircraft and lower minima for that runway.
    I am finding it difficult to continue onmy mobile but
    to say the pilot put the aircraft and psg. In danger is yrying to get miles on his article.

    • admin  On August 26, 2015 at 5:27 am

      Dear Venk,
      Fuel policy: That is correct. As it is mentioned in the article, the SOPs always would be perfect, whereas the implementation wont be, most of the times.
      Airports navigation systems & runways: That is correct. Did not mention here only because that would have made this long article even lengthier.
      Approach heading of the aircraft: For the first approach, that was true. But trying to land on the same runway for a second and then a third time was really perplexing. Surely he could have saved a little more fuel by opting 32 for those attempts.

      Regards

      Jacob

  • Sinu Nair  On August 24, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Worth to read..

  • rahul  On August 24, 2015 at 9:21 am

    crap. this article is nonsense. kindly get your facts right. thats 3 mins of my life im never getting back.

  • RD Thakur  On August 24, 2015 at 8:56 am

    From the untold story of 9W 555 Aviators must learn a lesson and devise or review the existing SOP and fuel policy to avoid such incident. It was LUCK that saved the lives on board and on ground including the properties.
    Jet Airways Operation, Flight Safety, and top Management should put their mind to review the SOP and fuel policy along with the Authority and Regulator to ensure avoidance of such happenings.
    Blame and counter blame will find any solution except complicating the matter. The reviews are very important for getting right solution.
    At the end of the day the bug stops at the PIC who takes the credit or the blame.

  • RD Thakur  On August 24, 2015 at 7:52 am

    The UNTOLD STORY OF 9W 555 IS INDEED INTERESTING. People in the industry must learn a lesson so that such incident is avoided. Both Airlines and the Commander must take the responsibility of the incident . Anything could have happened but for the luck which helped them survive.
    Especially Jet airways Flight Safety and others concerned must review their SOP and fuel policy along with the Regulator. It is lesson for all airlines.
    Blame and counter blame will not find any solution except complicating the matter. Positive approach is the need of the hour.

  • RAJITHRAJAN  On August 24, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Dear Sir,

    Regarding emergency call, fuel emergency was declared when he was aware that he wouldn’t be able to land with reserve fuel.The rule says one should call PAN PAN when it is estimated that he cant land with final reserve fuel.But MAY DAY call when you are sure that you cant land with reserve fuel.So the given theory to be verified.

    • Kuruvila  On August 24, 2015 at 9:58 am

      Dear Rajith Rajan,
      It’s a matter of air traffic phraseology and the distinction between MAYDAY and PAN-PAN is still vague. If you go by textbook, MayDay in distress and Pan Pan in urgency, and you can upgrade or downgrade it later depending on the situation. It is for ATC to prioritize the traffic flow in emergency situation. it is common that the pilot called Mayday, but Pan would have been sufficient and vice versa. Here if the pilot called MayDay or Pan Pan is only academical, not the decisive factor. (Kuruvila)

      • RAJITHRAJAN  On August 25, 2015 at 12:24 am

        Dear Kuruvila Sir,

        I agree with you.But my point was what Mr.Jacob is pointing is wrong.Also as mentioned above my knowledge is we can call MAY DAY in-case final reserve fuel is being used.

  • Kuruvila Varghese  On August 23, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    I am sorry to say that you have reached conclusions without substantiating relevant facts and circumstances.

    You begin with a rather exaggerating description of the incident as “the gravest of the safety incidents” which is not true. Fuel starvation, especially in marginal weather conditions, is a major possibility, but there are sufficient safety margins incorporated in the operational policy of every airline. There are many other situations like engine flame-out due to volcanic ash ingestion, explosive cabin decompression over mountainous terrain etc that are more alarming. So I consider your attempt was only to sensationalize the story to hold back your readers up to the end. On a quick glance through the rather long write-up, I have noticed the following points need a mention:

    1. There is no regulatory requirement to add “fuel to fly for 45 mins at cruising altitude from the alternate airport”. If he had that 2700 kg fuel in his tanks, that could be the pilot’s discretionary fuel due to the weather being marginal at his destination.
    2. Bangalore is not closer than Trivandrum, so there is nothing wrong in the pilot’s selection if he was convinced about the visibility there. The COK-BLR distance is 217 nm where as COK-TRV is only 127 nm. Somewhere in your write-up, you say the TRV visibility was 3000m when he took the decision and later it was reported as 1500m. That is the point, the pilot cannot be blamed for that. If he turns back and proceed to BLR that would be more catastrophic. So his only option was to continue and attempt to land. Also declaring May Day is the normal thing to do in that situation to get landing priority and to have the emergency rescue team ready.
    3. Now-a-days no airline would fly with more fuel than required as part of fuel efficiency measures. More fuel means heavier aircraft, means higher fuel consumption. If the Commander wants more than the regulatory minimum, he should justify it with sufficient reasons. This is so anywhere – Budget or Legacy airline, Air India or Jet Airways. There are provisions to demand more fuel if there are operational reasons like weather, technical, ATC etc. So it is unfair to criticize the 9W pilot in this case.
    4. The DGCA move to investigate is quite right, that only means more scrutiny is required, the pilot to be heard and the airline policy to be verified etc.

    No matter what, I appreciate your effort to bring the story to public attention, but you should have exercised objectivity and patience.
    (Kuruvila)

    • admin  On August 24, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      Dear Mr. Kuruvilla,
      Thanks for reading the lengthy article, and for spending your time to write a note.
      Please see the responses which I thought I should be making.

      “You begin with a rather exaggerating description of the incident as “the gravest of the safety incidents” which is not true. Fuel starvation, especially in marginal weather conditions, is a major possibility, but there are sufficient safety margins incorporated in the operational policy of every airline”

      Please read the article again carefully. It was ONE OF THE gravest of the safety incidents. And in aviation terminology, incident and accident are two distinctly different things. An incident, the chances of which turning into a most tragic accident, is indeed one of the gravest of safety incidents.

      “But there are sufficient safety margins incorporated in the operational policy of every airline”

      Exactly. The article is about airlines not sticking to the sufficient safety margins which would be there in black & white in safety policies. Perfecting a printed copy of an SOP just wont do.

      “There is no regulatory requirement to add “fuel to fly for 45 mins at cruising altitude from the alternate airport”. If he had that 2700 kg fuel in his tanks, that could be the pilot’s discretionary fuel due to the weather being marginal at his destination”

      This is something not to be expected from anyone familiar with the stipulations of regulatory organizations around the world/the policies adopted by airlines/operational manuals supplied by aircraft manufacturers. Or just ask any aviation safety expert from any part of the world.
      Discretionary is a relative term, whereas a guideline is not. In aviation, we just cant afford relative terms ruling over widely varying scenarios that have direct bearing upon safety.

      “Bangalore is not closer than Trivandrum, so there is nothing wrong in the pilot’s selection if he was convinced about the visibility there. The COK-BLR distance is 217 nm where as COK-TRV is only 127 nm. Somewhere in your write-up, you say the TRV visibility was 3000m when he took the decision and later it was reported as 1500m. That is the point, the pilot cannot be blamed for that. If he turns back and proceed to BLR that would be more catastrophic. So his only option was to continue and attempt to land. Also declaring May Day is the normal thing to do in that situation to get landing priority and to have the emergency rescue team ready”.

      It is not a question of proximity of the alternate airport- I thought that was very much clear in the article. Please read again carefully and see that, the whole point is the inherent danger in selecting an airport where the climatic conditions could be identical to the first airport by virtue of its geographical location, as an alternate airport. And the very reason for the climatic conditions of Trivandrum to alter within five minutes to become similar to that at Kochi is this particular geographical location. And please see that the pilot had got the warning as early as just 5 minutes into his flight to Trivandrum. There were time at his disposal then, to opt for a better choice of an alternate airport.

      “May Day is the normal thing to do in that situation to get landing priority.”

      The normal thing to get just a landing priority is making a May Day call?!
      Believe me, if that indeed was the case, our ATCs would have been registering dozens of such calls every week !!
      Like generalization, trivialization too is not exactly a companion of safety.

      “Now-a-days no airline would fly with more fuel than required as part of fuel efficiency measures. More fuel means heavier aircraft, means higher fuel consumption. If the Commander wants more than the regulatory minimum, he should justify it with sufficient reasons. This is so anywhere – Budget or Legacy airline, Air India or Jet Airways. There are provisions to demand more fuel if there are operational reasons like weather, technical, ATC etc. So it is unfair to criticize the 9W pilot in this case”.

      “Now-a-days no airline would”, ” This is so anywhere ” . Ever heard this saying,’the devil is in the generalization”? Please see that the aviation just cant afford to justify safety lapses by citing general trends. Because accident is not a common thing, at least in aviation.

      “The DGCA move to investigate is quite right, that only means more scrutiny is required, the pilot to be heard and the airline policy to be verified etc.”

      There should be and there will be. Punishing the guilty in itself is a good deterrent and therefore an effective safety measure.

      -Jacob K Philip
      Editor

      • Kuruvila Varghese  On August 25, 2015 at 10:26 am

        Dear Jacob,
        1. You may kindly make it clear which regulatory safety margin that Jet Airways allegedly not adhered to.
        2. Discretionary is anything in addition to the regulatory minimum. Here I am assuming that the 2700 kg could be the extra fuel requested by crew due to the marginal weather at his destination. You are listing that (45 min fuel at cruising altitude) as per regulation, which I never heard of!
        3. I thought you mentioned somewhere in yr write-up that BLR was the right choice due to its proximity. Even otherwise, at the time the diversion was decided, the visibility at TRV was 3000 by your own words. Unless there is no indication of deteriorating weather in TRV met report, pilot has no reason to consider a further away alternate in that situation. His priority is to land his aircraft as quickly as possible. I cannot comment more on this since I dont have the relevant weather reports in hand.
        4. after three missed approaches in TRV, the pilot was in a do-or-die situation and declaring May Day is not unusual in such critical cases. It is not fair to misinterpret my words as if I said May Day is to get landing priority! Remember, if a pilot misuse May Day without proper justification he will not go scot-free. Are you trying to say the 9W pilot called May Day without justifiable reason when he had only just enough fuel left for one more approach?
        5. you seem to be fond of the word “generalization”. My comments were not written for a text book or a research thesis. it was my response to the arbitrary judgement you made in haste. if you can list your allegations with more precision, i can respond accordingly! please ask your ideal airline what is their fuel policy and compare it with jet airways and ten others, then please write your next blog on that.
        6. what was the flaw in 9W fuel carriage in that particular flight according to your “expert” opinion? if the weather at destination is bad, divert to alternate 1, make 3 attempts, then proceed to alternate 2 where weather is good but runway is blocked by a disabled aircraft, then proceed to alternate 3..carry sufficient fuel to cover all this hop-step-and-jump…..what are you talking about? please come to the point, be specific, list down your allegations more accurately or wait for dgca investigation report.

        • admin  On August 25, 2015 at 5:57 pm

          Dear Mr. Kuruvilla,

          First of all, it is not a platform for allegations and counter allegations, but for healthy discussions.

          I only have one request- Please read the whole article again, this time more carefully and slowly.
          -When it was never said in the article that the pilot should have been going to Bangalore, you imagined there was.
          -It is also stated very clearly that the pilot made the May Day after the 2nd approach. Not the third like you repeat again and again.
          -And there also is this information in the article that the pilot was informed of the lowering of visibility to 1500 just five (5) minutes after departing from Kochi, to Trivandrum.

          Any one who read both the article and the comment can point out more.

          When commenting on an article, you should at least read the article fully and more carefully.

          And I found this assertion of yours disappointing and a little amusing:

          “You are listing that (45 min fuel at cruising altitude) as per regulation, which I never heard of!”

          Surely that is not my fault 🙂 No harm in studying a little more !

          And if you just cant distinguish even between an accident and an incident (being a very basic thing), would it be wiser to not to comment on aviation safety at all?

          We should have a comprehensive idea of the field when different stakeholders are involved in an incident like this. Blindly supporting one group just because we belong to that group wont lead us anywhere. A discussion can go forward only when people do that objectively.
          In other words, people can have some vested interest, but they should not let that to guide them when making comments on an issue as serious as this.

          Regards

          Jacob

  • Rajveer Gill  On August 23, 2015 at 5:31 am

    I think there has been government regulations after Kandhar incident that flights should not be over fueled. And apart from this policy of the pilot has to land immediately after take off he has to shed some fuel due to weight and other dangers.
    However knowing jet airways as an airline their focus is more towards economics than passenger safety. And may be its not the pilots fault. The flight ops team has to be blamed for this.

  • goodwill  On August 23, 2015 at 2:00 am

    just for ur info th flght left with 16 ton of fuel from doha…the biggest mistake was tht captain diverted to tvm instead of blr which was its 1st alternate airport.

  • Rajendran  On August 22, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Good write up…..but lot of difference in air ……don’t assume situations faced by pilots sitting in the air conditioned rooms on ground

  • balachandran.K  On August 22, 2015 at 4:51 am

    Basic recipe for a perfect thriller in the genre of “Flight in to danger”.Thanks Jacob

  • Nik  On August 22, 2015 at 4:26 am

    Here are some points I would like to write contradicting your expert analysis .

    1. Carrying extra fuel costs the company money because more the weight of the aircraft more will be fuel burn . Any how in this case the flight was filled with fuel to its limits which doesn’t necessarily mean full tank capacity due to structural limitations ( max landing weight , max take off weight ).
    2. Flight planning is an exact science and in this time and era done by computer programmes which go on historical Data current weather and lots of other data which you can’t even think of so the fuel he would have got was more than enough and if jet airways fuel policy was skewed you would have seen many more incidents like this ,
    3. Declaring May Day is a procedure if you go below a certain level of fuel in the aircraft . And declaring May Day doesn’t mean the ATC shuts up it will help you in any way it can . Again you could write anything on this post and get away with it .
    4 . As a lay man sitting on ground you can put X NUMBER OF POSSIBLITIES AND PERMUTATIONS AND COMBINATIONS BUT TRY PUTTING YOUR SELF IN THAT SITUATION .
    Haven’t slept the whole night , coming to land with weather around etc etc . Again I am not saying the pilot is right but don’t hang somebody without him being guilty .
    There will be a full investigation into this incident be rest assured the the first thing they would do is hang the pilot at the slightest of his mistake

    I have many more but these are a few which I wanted to bring .
    THIS IS A VERY SENSATIONALISED VERSION WAIT FOR THE REPORT TO COME

  • ags  On August 22, 2015 at 3:38 am

    Excellent report. Thanks for sharing.

  • goodwill  On August 22, 2015 at 2:14 am

    and for the part of declaring mayday let me inform that the captain cannot be blamed for he was indeed very low on fuel and even declaring pan-pan(for lesser emergency situations) would not have being right. May-day calls are made when there is imminent threat to the safety of a/c and in this case there was. May-day call requires other a/c to stop radio transmission so that the emergency a/c radio can be given priority but it dosnt mean atc cannot communicate furthermore just to note that the captain said ‘good-bye’ dosnt mean he had lost all hope. Its done in an emergency when the captain dosnt want to disturbed during the critical time. “Good-bye’ is said by almost all the f/o(for atc communications are usually always done by co-pilot) when they leave one radi station.
    I am not trying to support the captain in everything true enquiry must be done but pls dont make assumptions and blame someone. Its easy to sit in ones office and point fingers im sure most of us would have died in our seats if we were to face these situations. Pls get ur facts right,.

  • goodwill  On August 22, 2015 at 1:54 am

    Dear sir pls be informed that fuel on board after landing was just 260kg and it was not possible for another go-around and landing and if done so it would have being a grave.

  • Manikantan  On August 21, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Informative. Thanks for this write-up.

  • Shabeer  On August 21, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Good one..thanks for the informative report

  • seeni  On August 21, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    thanks jacob good knowledge which u share

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