Panaji: A major mishap was narrowly avoided at Goa’s Dabolim Airport on Tuesday when a tyre of an Indian Navy’s MiG-29K fighter aircraft burst shortly before take-off. The single-seat aircraft, which was on a routine sortie, got stranded on the taxiway after the tyre burst, blocking the runway and affecting the services of 10 passenger flights.
The airport authorities closed the runway for operations till 4 pm and diverted some flights to the newly opened Manohar International Airport at Mopa, which is about 40 km away from Dabolim. No injuries or damages were reported in the incident, which occurred during the Navy’s operational hours at the airport.
A Navy spokesperson said that the fire brigade and other emergency services were immediately rushed to the spot, and the aircraft would be moved away from the taxiway as soon as possible. He did not reveal the exact time of the incident or the cause of the tyre burst.
Dabolim Airport is a civil enclave operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at the INS Hansa naval base of the Indian Navy. The airport, which is located in the South Goa district, handles both civilian and military flights and is often congested due to the limited runway capacity. The MiG-29K is a state-of-the-art, all-weather, carrier-based, air dominance fighter specially built for the Indian Navy⁶. It has a maximum speed of over twice the speed of sound and can carry a range of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons.