All that Air India wanted to do was save its 20-year-old ‘baby’ from turning into a useless scrap.
To ‘protect’ the baby from evil eyes, priests were called in who broke hundreds of coconuts, lengthy religious rituals (one and a half hours to be precise) were conducted before the ‘baby’ finally took its first step.
But despite all the efforts, the ‘baby’, Air India’s Airbus A-320 aircraft, is now reduced to scrap which will now fetch Air India about Rs 3 lakh!
Express spoke to an Air India official who, on condition of anonymity, explained in detail as to what went behind the scenes in transporting the defunct aircraft by road from the Begumpet airport to the Central Training Establishment at Ferozguda in Balanagar and how the plane flopped on the Airport Authority of India’s club house compound wall after the crane broke on Sunday.
On the D-day, priests were brought in, hours of religious rituals were conducted, hundreds of coconuts were broken to protect the aircraft from evil eyes, and finally the craft took its first step at about 9:00 pm on Saturday night. “Proper trials were conducted and permissions had been taken and everything was set in motion to move the aircraft,” the official added.
The plane, which was to be transported for a distance of 7.5 km to its destination, faced its first hurdle when the belt of the crane was broken inside the airport premises after travelling for a couple of kilometres.
“Contrary to the reports in several newspapers, the plane was supposed to cover a distance of seven and a half kilometres. During the trials, more concentration was paid on bringing the plane till the club house as we thought it would be easier to move it on a well-laid road. Inside, it was full of ups and downs and no major problem was faced expect for the breaking of the belt,” the official said.
After replacing the belt with a new one, the journey resumed and by 4 am, the aircraft was taken to the club house on the Old Bowenpally Road.
It had to wait for an hour for the electricity employee to reach the place and disconnect the power supply so that the crane could move forward.
“Once power was disconnected, the crane operator struggled for hours to balance the plane in the air. The wind was heavy and with every passing minute, it became even more difficult to get control over the plane. Had something like this happened inside the airport premises, we would have aborted the mission. It would also have been easy for us to halt the aircraft. Here, there was no chance of bringing the aircraft on ground as there was a wall on both sides.”
At around 7 am, the crane gave in and dropped the aircraft hull on the compound wall of Air Authority of India’s club house.