Bat Causes Newark-Bound Air India Flight To Divert

Bat Causes Newark-Bound Air India Flight To Divert

22

I think this qualifies as one of the stranger reasons for a flight diversion

Bat starts flying around Air India cabin

On Thursday, May 27, 2021, Air India flight AI105 had quite an adventure. A Boeing 777-300ER with the registration code VT-ALM was scheduled to operate the ultra long haul flight from Delhi to Newark.

The plane took off from Delhi at 2:27AM as scheduled, but about 30 minutes after takeoff a bat started flying around the cabin.

Initial reports had suggested that the crew spotted a dead bat carcass in business class, though the video footage suggests that the bat was alive and well during this incident.

The pilots were made aware of this, and they made the decision to return to Delhi. This required entering a holding pattern in order to dump fuel, since the plane was too heavy to land. So the plane ended up flying for nearly two hours, before returning to Delhi in the early hours of the morning.

It’s suggested that the plane was cleaned and fumigated, though it would appear that Air India still ended up flying a different aircraft to Newark.

At 6:37AM an Air India Boeing 777-300ER with the registration code VT-ALU ended up taking off for Newark. It operated the 14hr19min flight, and landed at 11:25AM, which was 3hr30min behind schedule.

That delay isn’t bad at all when you consider the amount of time spent dumping fuel along with how long it takes to swap planes. It also makes me wonder if the same crew ended up operating the second flight? Either they did an amazing job finding a replacement crew quickly, or this crew had an extremely long day.

That’s an expensive diversion…

Initial reports had suggested that the flight diverted due to a bat carcass being found in the cabin, rather than due to a live bat flying around the cabin the cabin. I was confused by the initial report, since I’m not exactly sure what a diversion would have accomplished.

However, the fact that there was a live bat flying around the cabin sheds a lot more light on this situation. I can see how a bat could get on a plane while it’s parked on the ground and the door is open. I guess the only surprising part is that the bat only started flying around the cabin 30 minutes into the flight.

This is obviously a tricky situation, as diversions are expensive and time consuming, and the fuel dumping alone probably cost the airline tens of thousands of dollars (and that doesn’t even account for the environmental impact).

At the same time, I’m not sure there’s a better solution if there’s a bat flying around? I guess there’s not a practical way for the crew to capture the bat, so returning and starting over was probably the only option.

Bottom line

A bat flying around the cabin of an Air India Boeing 777 caused quite a commotion. The Delhi to Newark flight ended up returning to India, which required dumping fuel, and also delayed the flight by several hours.

I suppose there’s not really a great alternative here, and if anything, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often.

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  1. SS

    Ha bats during the time of COVID-19 is a scary experience.

    Once the plane landed back in such a short time Air India could not have caught the flying bat so they swapped the aircraft as there are many spare ones in DEL due to the international travel restrictions.

    Also point to note the flight would have had very high pax load again due to many visa holders being banned entry into the US from...

    Ha bats during the time of COVID-19 is a scary experience.

    Once the plane landed back in such a short time Air India could not have caught the flying bat so they swapped the aircraft as there are many spare ones in DEL due to the international travel restrictions.

    Also point to note the flight would have had very high pax load again due to many visa holders being banned entry into the US from India. Hence they did a quick transfer to another aircraft. About the crew they must have continued with the same crew.

  2. Shunter96e

    Why not just catch / kill the bat? Not like it’s a cobra or tiger......

    1. Gerard Tremeux

      Bats contain multiple diseases, such as rabies, deadly to humans. In the process of capturing/killing, if a person is bit, it could be quite harmful to their health. It is a good idea to avoid contact with bats.

  3. No Name

    As others have said Lucky, the bat probably started flying after the crew dimmed the lights since they are nocturnal.

  4. DCharlie

    They didn’t dump fuel here based on the two hour that the aircraft flew. Most probably, they used the fuel until below the safe landing weight. Regardless, the fuel would have just evaporated if it were dumped at that altitude.

  5. RuFuS

    Most likely rather than dumping the fuel they burned it down to landing weight. Depending on the altitude they operated the aircraft the fuel would disperse in the atmosphere, as a fine vapor, mist or other airborne pollution. Most airlines prefer to burn it off rather than dump because if low enough it is a fire hazard. In an emergency they can dump copious amounts of fuel in a few moments, so 2 + hours would indicate more burn than dump.

  6. Fed UP

    what the hell is Air India flights coming into the US ? I thought there was a ban of these flights ....

  7. Minerva

    Bats typically carry diseases and parasites, though most are only transmitted between other bats/animals. So it makes sense that they would choose to return and have it removed. Even a dead one can be a hazard. Glad they got it off alive though!

  8. Auspointer

    Minmax - wins internet for 2day

  9. Lukas

    Yeah, that flight path is HIGHLY suggestive :D

  10. Eskimo

    The Joker was trying to enter USA.

    But the flight path suggested that the pilots had the last laugh.

  11. Minmax

    That flight crew took advantage to fly in a penis flight pattern

  12. Max

    @creditian

    How so if the the virus was man-made (gain-of-function research) inside a lab in Wuhan, China (built by France, financed and organized by the US under Anthony Fraudci)?

  13. Luke

    Had to dump fuel due to being heavy to land, based on the flight map presumably on highly populated residential areas!

  14. Creditian

    Coronavirus flying in the cabin………..

  15. Jared

    I experienced a similar incident in 2013 on a Delta flight destined for AMS. The bat became active sometime after the cabin crew dimmed the lights. The flight continued since there were no suitable diversions. We landed in AMS and were met my some agriculture and wildlife control officials who managed to trap the bat to an area while passengers vacated.

    A lot of my work requires jumping onto military air transport. Bats are a common nuisance on those flights.

  16. Steven M

    Wall Street Journals: "When did the U.S.-India travel ban start?

    "The travel ban went into effect May 4 and is indefinite until lifted by President Biden.

    "Is everyone banned from traveling to the U.S. from India?

    "The travel ban doesn’t apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and their spouses. Other individuals who might qualify for exemptions include humanitarian workers, certain journalists and academics, and students commencing studies in the fall, according to a determination...

    Wall Street Journals: "When did the U.S.-India travel ban start?

    "The travel ban went into effect May 4 and is indefinite until lifted by President Biden.

    "Is everyone banned from traveling to the U.S. from India?

    "The travel ban doesn’t apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and their spouses. Other individuals who might qualify for exemptions include humanitarian workers, certain journalists and academics, and students commencing studies in the fall, according to a determination by the State Department. The exceptions mirror those for other countries affected by pandemic-related travel restrictions. Most other travelers who have been in India during a 14-day period before their attempted entry into the U.S. are prohibited."

    And thus Air India kept flying. Even with a bat.

  17. Lukas

    Too bad Dwight Schrute wasn’t onboard :)

  18. Icarus

    Die fledermaus
    Vermin are pretty common, more do rats

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Serena

Hahaha!

SS

Ha bats during the time of COVID-19 is a scary experience. Once the plane landed back in such a short time Air India could not have caught the flying bat so they swapped the aircraft as there are many spare ones in DEL due to the international travel restrictions. Also point to note the flight would have had very high pax load again due to many visa holders being banned entry into the US from India. Hence they did a quick transfer to another aircraft. About the crew they must have continued with the same crew.

Gerard Tremeux

Bats contain multiple diseases, such as rabies, deadly to humans. In the process of capturing/killing, if a person is bit, it could be quite harmful to their health. It is a good idea to avoid contact with bats.

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