While the season's first nor'wester was blowing through Dhaka Sunday evening, a Boeing747 of a Chinese airline attempted landing at Shahjalal International Airport, but then it aborted and flew off as the weather was too windy.
But just before that a small ATR-72 of a private domestic airline coming from Barishal with full capacity attempted the same and came down to 561 feet before the pilot thought otherwise and aborted the landing. It then diverted to Chattogram.
Industry insiders think trying a landing when the storm was at about 60 knots with such a light aircraft was too risky, and yet the airport authorities gave it clearance for landing. They say for this type of aircraft the maximum wind speed for safe landing is 30 knots.
Chy M Zia Ul Kabir, member (Flight Standard and Regulations) of the Civil Aviation Authorities of Bangladesh (Caab) said the landing approach was all in regulatory limitations and the pilot made a good decision of diverting the flight when he found wind was not favourable for landing.
He claimed a pilot can descend up to 300 feet before diverting flight. The ATR pilot made the landing attempt as the weather was good but the speed of wind at 400 feet altitude was not suitable for landing.
Asked why Caab gave the clearance in the adverse weather, he said a landing decision completely depends on the pilot as per the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization).
Responding to another question as to why airport operation was not closed in that adverse weather, he said international airports never stop operation. There is a wind limit for varieties of aircraft and the pilot will take action according to the limit of his aircraft, he added.
When contacted, a spokesperson of the airline said he was not aware if the pilot took any risky attempt of landing.
Sharing experience, a passenger of that flight said the aircraft took off at the scheduled time at 6:10pm on Sunday from Barishal. When it took off, a Biman Bangladesh Airlines plane was waiting for weather clearance.
The Biman flight was delayed due to adverse weather.