Pilot refuses to land at new airport

An airline pilot took his passengers on a 1,200-mile detour after refusing to land at a new airport in India because he had never heard of it.

With 233 passengers on board, the KLM pilot first diverted the flight to Hyderabad from Amsterdam northwards to New Delhi.

But after he was denied permission to land in New Delhi, he flew on to Mumbai and finally landed two hours later.

The pilot reportedly claimed he knew nothing about Hyderabad’s new Rajiv Gandhi International airport. Airport officials insisted all airlines had been notified of it opening on March 14.

But a report in the Times of India revealed a number of pilots had complained their flight computers did not recognise the new airport.

The computers believed the aircraft were descending at an unknown place and issued verbal warnings, saying: “Terrain, terrain, pull up. Too low.”

Most Indian pilots, who know the land around the new airport is flat, switch off the warning and continue their descent.

But the Times of India said foreign pilots were understandably concerned and speculated it could have been a factor in the KLM pilot’s confusion.

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