Cow able to gain access to India’s 5th largest city’s airport runway

aircraft departs from AMD
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Cow enters Indian airport, prevents flights from taking off and landing

Nobody moove! Cow causes chaos at Indian airport

Cow walks past “security” onto runway

Airport owned and operated by AAI

FAA recently moved India to Category I

airport and city map


First, it was a bunch of bunnies that held up an IndiGo flight. Then a troop of monkeys, now the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (AMD) serving the cities of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in Gujarat, India has been brought to a halt by a single cow.


[Not the actual animal, but a good likeness].


Somehow the large animal was able to “sneak by” security at a cargo gate at the airport to enter the AOA. The airport is not yet towered; so, a pilot preparing to land spotted the dangerous hazard. It took local authorities about 90 minutes to encourage the beast to desist from its position.

The safety risks caused a passenger flight from Abu Dhabi and a cargo flight to be diverted. Departing operations and five arriving domestic flights were delayed.

[There was no explanation in the press whether it was a sacred cow (Bhoomi ভূমি)). Hinduism teaches that one may not do no harm to an animal (ahimsa).]

another cow on runway incident

another cow on runway incident

The Airport Authority of India, which owns and operates AMD, has ordered an inquiry into the latest incident. “The AAI chairman has asked the Ahmedabad airport director to ascertain possibility of any human negligence in the incident. “Directives have been given to take stringent steps to avoid any such occurrences in future,” said an AAI statement.


Ahmedabad is no cow town; it has a population of 5,633,927 making it India’s  5th most populous city and is 6th on list of first 20 smart cities in India.


AAI logoThe owner of AMD, Airports Authority of India – AAI, owns AMD. In turn, AAI is an autonomous organization attached to Ministry of Civil Aviation. Almost two years ago, Minister of Civil Aviation Secretary Foxx announced that the DGCA of India had been upgraded to Category 1 (meets ICAO standards) after a long FAA International Aviation Safety Assessment review. Soon thereafter, it has been reported that the FAA’s “approval” was conditioned by four points with which the DGCA must comply sometime in the undefined future. The 2015 report cited:



  • “the local aviation regulator would have to hire a total of 72 flight operations inspectors (FOIs),”
  • recertify “all scheduled airlines,”
  • “recertify all non-scheduled operators (NSOPs) and”
  • “recertify all flying training organizations to retain the top ranking.”

When/if the FAA returns to India to reaudit the civil aviation authorities, they should examine the periphery of the airports. If a cow can wonder onto a runway, there may be more substantial risks to aviation safety.










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1 Comment on "Cow able to gain access to India’s 5th largest city’s airport runway"

  1. Years ago, before I went to Brussels, we did a quick survey of the Indian aviation system. One day I wound up in a small town with a small airport. It had one airplane making one landing and one takeoff a day…and one controller in the tower. He admitted that he often controlled the aircraft from downstairs. I asked him how he made sure that a cow wasn’t on the runway. He just shrugged

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