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Accident description
Last updated: 19 November 2017
Status:Final
Date:Sunday 5 January 2014
Time:21:10
Type:Silhouette image of generic A320 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A320-231
Operator:Air India
Registration: VT-ESH
C/n / msn: 469
First flight: 1994-02-11 (19 years 11 months)
Total airframe hrs:55705
Engines: 2 IAE V2500-A1
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 173
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 179
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Jaipur International Airport (JAI/VIJP) (   India)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Guwahati-Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (GAU/VEGT), India
Destination airport:Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL/VIDP), India
Flightnumber:AI890
Narrative:
An Airbus A320-231, operated by Air India, sustained substantial damage in a landing accident at Jaipur International Airport (JAI), India. Flight AI890 was a domestic service from Imphal to Guwahati and Delhi in India.
The aircraft landed at Guwahati at 11:15 UTC and departed for Delhi at 12:05 UTC with 12.7 tonnes of fuel on board. The filed alternates for the sector were Lucknow and Jaipur in that order.
Overhead Lucknow, the crew received the Lucknow weather and when the aircraft was in range the Delhi ATIS weather was also copied.
While in contact with Delhi ATC, the flight was advised to join the hold as the runway 28 RVR at Delhi had dropped to the lower end of CAT I operations. At this point runway 29 was below minima. AI890 was number twelve in sequence and continued to remain in the holding pattern for the next 20-25 minutes. During this period there was no attempt on the part of flight crew to seek Lucknow weather. Air India Flight dispatch also did not given any advice to the flight about Jaipur or Lucknow weather. The weather (visibility / RVR) reported on runway 29 was below CAT I conditions so runway was not available for this flight at that moment as the First Officer was only Cat I qualified. The aircraft flew 3 holds before intercepting the localizer runway 28 at 35 miles. RVR runway 28 also dropped below Cat. I minimas, therefore the crew discontinued approach and climbed to 8000 feet on runway heading before going on heading 180.
Though the first planned diversion alternate was Lucknow, which had visibility of 2000 m (above minima), the captain elected to divert to Jaipur. Reason was that they were closer to Jaipur and they had inquired about the visibility from Dispatch for Jaipur, which was provided as 2000 m. At this stage the crew did not check complete weather of Jaipur. Minimum diversion fuel to Jaipur was 2.9 tonnes. AI890 commenced diversion to Jaipur with Fuel on Board of 3.1 tonnes.
The aircraft came in contact with Jaipur for the first time when it was at 68 DME from Jaipur. At that time the crew came to know of the complete weather of Jaipur from the ATIS, which read: visibility of 900 m, dew point 13°C, temperature 13°C, and RVR 1000m. At 60 miles and passing flight level 138, the crew informed Jaipur that the aircraft was descending for flight level 100 as cleared by Delhi control. The aircraft again informed Jaipur ATC its position at 55 miles, 50 miles and 42 miles from Jaipur which were also acknowledged by Jaipur ATC. During these contacts, weather of Jaipur was neither asked by the crew nor provided by ATC. When the aircraft was at flight level 83, the crew asked ATC Jaipur to confirm that they could carry out an ILS approach for runway 27 via the 10 DME arc. While confirming the requested approach, Jaipur ATC informed all the stations about the weather at that moment as visibility 400 m and RVR 1000 m. When the aircraft was at 30 miles from Jaipur, Jaipur ATC passed weather as visibility 400 m, RVR 1000 m and trend visibility becoming 350 m. At 28 DME from Jaipur, the aircraft was maintaining 6000 feet and on request was cleared by Jaipur ATC to descend to 5000 feet.
When the aircraft was at 25 DME, from Jaipur, ATC advised that the weather was deteriorating rapidly and visibility was 400 meters. The crew however informed ATC that they were committed to land at Jaipur due to the aircraft fuel state. The fuel on board at that point of time was approx 2.6 tonnes and approach was commenced for Jaipur with a visibility of 500 m with trend reducing.
The aircraft was no. 2 in approach at Jaipur and was cleared for the VOR/DME arc ILS approach runway 27 at 25 nm.
Due to reducing visibility, Jaipur ATC asked all the aircraft inbound for Jaipur to come over head and join the JJP hold. The crew of AI890 asked for the weather which was provided as visibility 400 m and RVR 1000 m though RVR deteriorating to 550 m. The flight continued and flew the VOR/DME arc for an ILS runway 27 approach. ATC transmitted the RVR as 200 m and visibility as 50 m with trend reducing. Another scheduled flight ahead of AI890 carried out a missed approach and diverted to Ahmedabad. When the aircraft was above MDA (1480 feet AGL), ATC reported RVR 50 m and cleared the aircraft to land subject to minima. Both the flight crew maintained that they had seen the runway lights. The ILS approach was performed with dual auto pilot until 200ft Radio Altitude. After descending below MDA on auto pilot, the commander disconnected the auto pilot. The captain performed the final approach manually. The aircraft deviated to the left of the runway centre line and touched down on soft ground (in kutcha) on the left hand side of the runway. During touchdown and landing roll, the visibility was zero and crew were unable to see any of the reference cues. The crew had heard rumbling sound during landing roll. The commander stated that he did the manual landing as he was not sure if he could do an auto-land on a ground facility which is CAT I certified airfield in actual zero visibility.
The aircraft continued to roll/ skid on the unpaved surface and during this period the left wing impacted trees causing damage to the left wing. Thereafter aircraft turned right and entered the runway finally coming to a halt on the left hand side of runway. There was no fire.
The aircraft was disabled on the runway, forcing the following flight (a SpiceJet Boeing 737-800, flight SG256) to carry out a missed approach. That flight was already low on fuel after diverting from Delhi to Jaipur, just like AI890.
The captain of SG256 then decided to return to Delhi irrespective of reported visibility and RVR. After diverting to Delhi, the aircraft came in contact with ATC Delhi, declared a MAYDAY due fuel with a request for straight and short vector for ILS 28. During the ILS approach for runway 28, the tower had reported RVR for runway 28 as 375m/900m/50m. A dual channel auto land was carried out. Fuel remaining at that time was 400 kgs. Fuel remaining during engine shut down was 150 kgs.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE:
The cause below has been given considering events as a combination of organizational factors and human error.
- The flight crew made an erroneous decision of diverting & continuing to an airfield with reducing visibility.
- The flight crew attempted a manual landing in below minima conditions.
- Lack of operational supervision and desired ground support to flight.
- Internal quality assurance not capturing the hazards which slipped through due complacency
- Lack of oversight of the flight operations.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: AAIB India
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 7 months
Accident number: Final report
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Low visibility

METAR Weather report:
14:30 UTC / 20:00 local time:
VIDP 051430Z 00000KT 0050 R28/0800 R29/0200 FG VV/// 11/11 Q1013 NOSIG
Delhi

14:30 UTC / 20:00 local time:
VIJP 051430Z VRB00KT 0900 R27/1500D MIFG NSC 13/13 Q1014 BECMG 0800
Jaipur

15:30 UTC / 21:00 local time:
VIDP 051530Z 00000KT 0000 R28/0450 R10/0050 R29/0000 R11/0050 FG VV/// 09/09 Q1014 NOSIG
Delhi

16:00 UTC / 21:30 local time:
VIDP 051600Z 00000KT R28/0450 R29/0000 R10/0040 R11/0000 FG VV/// 08/08 Q1014 NOSIG
Delhi

16:30 UTC / 22:00 local time:
VIJP 051630Z 00000KT 0000 R27/0150 FG NSC 13/13 Q1015 NOSIG
Jaipur


Follow-up / safety actions

AAIB India issued 32 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations

Photos

photo of Airbus A320-231 VT-ESH
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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Guwahati-Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport to Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport as the crow flies is 1447 km (904 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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