Air India aircraft, Airbus A-320 had to be grounded at the Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Terminal (aka Leh airport), becaise there were rats inside the plane.
As per procedure, the aircraft will have to be fumigated (a process to kill the pests by poisonous gasses), and then only be taken back into service. As there was no fumigation equipment at the Leh airport, Air India had to fly in the equipment from Delhi in another flight, this morning. They could not do anything yesterday as the operating hours of Leh airport are from “a little after sunrise to noon”.
Hopefully, the fumigation of the flight was carried out today. Once fumigated, the aircraft needs to be completely shut for a couple of hours. And as Leh airport does not allow operations from afternoon, the Air India plane is expected to be back in service from tomorrow.
How are rats dangerous to a plane? Well, apart from horrifying on-board passengers, they area also capable of chewing into wires. This could result in the pilot losing some of the controls to the aircraft, and thereby lead to a dangerous situation.
This is not the first rats on a plane incident. There have been many cases in the past. An official said that usually they get inside the aircraft via catering vans. In this particular case, the rat had entered from Delhi, as Leh does not have catering vans.