Air India flight AI021 had to land in emergency in New Delhi, after rats were found running around the cabin, on the evening of August 4.
The Airbus A-321 was on its way from Calcutta to New Delhi when the crew members discovered ‘scores’ of rats in the cabin. The plane safely landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi after which, the passengers were evacuated and the aircraft was grounded for pest control treatment and fumigation.
According to a senior commander, “Rats on board an aircraft can lead to a catastrophe if they start chewing up electric wires of a fly by wire plane…If that happens, pilots will have no control on any system on board leading to a disaster.”
However, an Air India officer was reported saying that the rat infestation is ‘common’ in planes worldwide as the rodents could ‘get in anywhere.’ “They follow the catering vans into the plane when they smell the food,” he said.