THE day could have turned out in a disastrous one for nearly 200 passengers on board a flight from Patna in the eastern Indian state of Bihar to national capital New Delhi but for Captain Monica Khanna who kept her cool to land the aircraft safely and ensured that not a single soul in the plane was hurt.
The incident happened on Sunday (19) when the New Delhi-bound SpiceJet flight carrying 185 passengers made an emergency landing back at the airport in Patna after one of its engines caught fire after it hit a bird shortly after taking off.
Khanna reportedly switched off the affected engine and brought the plane safely on land. All the passengers were safely evacuated and there was no report of injury, highly placed sources in Patna Police said.
Khanna was laused by Gurcharan Arora, the chief of flight operations at SpiceJet, for her quick action.
“Captain Monika Khanna and first officer Balpreet Singh Bhatia conducted themselves well during the incident. They were calm throughout and handled the aircraft well. They are experienced officers and we’re proud of them,” Arora told Asian News International.
Who is Monica Khanna?
Khanna is known to be a highly qualified pilot at SpiceJet Limited. As per her Instagram profile, she loves to travel and harbours a deep interest in latest fashion trends. While she joined SpiceJet in 2018, Balpreet Singh Bhatia, her first officer who also made a key effort towards the flight’s ‘overweight landing’, graduated from Emirates Aviation University and joined the airline in 2019.
On Monday (20), Arora appealed to all passengers to “be proud of its pilots and have faith in them as they are ‘well-trained’.”
“I appeal to all the passengers to have faith in all the SpiceJet pilots. They all are well-trained. The way SpiceJet pilots handled the situation in Patna, it was well-managed and is a matter of pride for us.” “SpiceJet has capable and trained pilots to handle any eventuality peacefully and for that, all passengers should proud of them,” he told ANI.
Both the pilots of the affected plane have joined the probe which is being conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which regulates India’s civil aviation, and internally by SpiceJet. They will not be deployed for flight operations for a few days as per the carrier’s standard operating procedures.