A raging fire along the runway at Gaya Airport in Bihar delayed landing of two flights for a couple of hours today following dense smoke and dangerous landing condition, a senior Airport Authorities of India (AAI) official said.
Confirming the fire, Gaya District Magistrate (DM) Sanjay Kumar Agarwal said, “Landing of two flights got delayed. One was Air India’s Delhi-Gaya and another was Yangon-Kolkata-Gaya international flight. In fact they were diverted due to the fire, but again called back as the fire was contained. Both have landed now.”
Agarwal said the fire broke out among the tall and dry elephant grass. It spread fast fanned by westerly winds. It came up to the runway but fire brigade and Airport Authority of India (AAI) fire-fighting system managed to contain it.
He said situation was completely under control with Airport fully functional and runway clear. He added that further measures were being taken to stop recurrence of such an incident.
Gaya Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) P Kannan said, “We are trying to verify the reasons behind it and investigations have been launched.”
An AAI official said the fire had started yesterday, but the officials at the airport ignored it. It kept spreading slowly and suddenly started raging this afternoon. It sprang towards the airstrip and threatened the landing of planes.
He said the AAI fire safety officer is reaching Gaya tomorrow to inspect the airport and assess the situation.