Enarada, Bhubaneswar, March 2, 2016
It was one of the rare scenes at the Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar on Wednesday afternoon when all the incoming flights were asked to hover around the sky to keep the runway clear for the approaching Air India flight. As an Air India flight coming from Delhi had reported a health emergency case, the Air Traffic Control at the Bhubaneswar airport asked all the other flights to delay their landings so that the AI flight be given the early permission to land. Only then, the other flights could land or take off at the airport.
Speaking to Enarada.com, one of the commuters from the Bengaluru-Bhubaneswar Air Indigo flight (Flight number 6E 491) said, “It was a surprise flight for me as the pilot announced of landing in Bhubaneswar at least 20 minutes ahead of schedule. I was quite surprised but in a few minutes, the pilot reverted back saying that though they have reached Bhubaneswar, their landing would be delayed due to an emergency landing of Air India flight. So, for around 20 minutes, the flight was hovering around Bhubaneswar skies before we could land.”
Later confirming the incident to Enarada, an official of Airport Authority of India said they had received a call from the Air India flight that a patient coming from Delhi was in a serious condition and needed to be given priority. “As a humanitarian gesture, we wanted no hurdles for the landing of Air India flight. Though we had already given the green signal for the landing of few other flights, we asked the pilots concerned to be on standby mode till the Air India flight hit the tarmac at the airport”, the official added.
According to a US-based magazine, medical emergencies happen in one out of every 604 flights. The most common type (37%) of cases, is syncope (fainting or passing out due to dry, pressurized environment of air cabins which can lead to dehydration), respiratory symptoms (12%) and nausea/ vomiting (10%). Most of the time, these emergencies are handled smoothly; planes only divert because of medical emergencies about 7% of the time.