Singapore Airlines Absolutely Denies Almost Landing at the Wrong Airport in Mumbai

This morning’s Singapore Airlines Singapore – Mumbai flight SQ422 initiated a go around as it attempted to land and there are two competing explanations for what happened.

The Airbus A350 was cleared for approach into Mumbai’s international airport using runway 9. As it descended through 1000 feet they called off the landing, went around and tried it again touching down after 18 minutes.

Singapore Airlines blames poor visibility for the need to go around,

Singapore Airlines flight SQ422, operating from Singapore to Mumbai on December 4, was scheduled to land on runway 09 at CSIA at 1035 hrs. Due to poor visibility conditions, the crew discontinued the approach to runway 09 at approximately 1,000 feet, in accordance with standard operating procedures.

‘Poor visibility’ could also explain what air traffic control sources suggest — and what’s been reportedly broadly in the media — that the flight was actually on final approach to runway 8 at Juhu airport, a general aviation facility in the Mumbai suburbs.

Runway 8 is the longer of the two runways at Juhu airport at just 3750 feet. While the A350 does well on short runways, I don’t see how it could land with 245 passengers and 14 crew on a runway that’s less than 5000 feet. And then it would somehow need to take off again!


Singapore Airlines A350

Aviation Herald sides with the wrong airport theory because “during the climb in the go around the aircraft went north of the approach track for International Airport’s runway 09..”

Singapore Airlines maintains that “at no time did the pilots of SQ 422 mistake Juhu airport as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Interesting how close those two airports are together. I’m not justifying lining up on the wrong runway but until I looked at an aerial of the two airports it seemed a lot worse

  2. Gary,

    I’m gonna take SQ’s side on this one… I’d bet a few bucks on a straight up, business as usual, go around.

    Go to flightRadar24 and zoom in REALLY close to the flight tracks near Juhu. This flight is flying parallel to rwy 8 but a good 1500 feet south of it. That flight’s trajectory never pointed at anything resembling the centerline track for rwy 8.

    Second, visibility was a little over a mile at the time of landing. The track that parallels rwy 8 is perfectly straight and begins about 2 miles from Juhu’s rwy 8 threshold — I don’t think the pilot could have seen that runway.

    I’m in the “routine, nothing to see here” camp. This guy wasn’t pointed at rwy 8, plain and simple.

  3. C’mon Dan

    You know these “Bloggers” are expert Pilots, Controllers, Accident Investigators and Airline CEOs just doing this online stuff for shits and giggles, right..?
    Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card before you leave…

  4. Even if SQ side of the story is the right one, they have very little credibility due to the lack of transparency of this organization, and being owned by the Singapore government (through Temasek).

  5. I checked by going to Radar24 for Curiosity I fully agree with what DAN says. The flight was NOT aligned with Juhu runway.

  6. Pilots take over from Autopilot at around 500ft. So the plane (with the worlds most advanced avionics mind you) would have been following the programmed flight path at this point – ie. the correct runway.

    The pilots decision to go-around was probably based on there being insufficient visibility (due to pollution/smog – current a rife problem in Indian city’s) to confirm runway sighting and take manual control of the decent.

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