The airline said no passenger was injured in the incident that occurred when the underside of the plane’s tail touched the tarmac on landing

A domestic flight operated by SpiceJet scraped the tarmac when it landed in Delhi on Wednesday afternoon, triggering panic among passengers and an inquiry from the country’s aviation regulator.

Photographs obtained by HT showed damage to the underside of flight SG-2642’s tail section, a sign of what is known as ‘tailstrike’ in aviation terms. Tailstrike can occur during landing and take-off if the aircraft is angled too steeply, causing the fuselage to come in contact with the ground.

“I have been travelling in flights for the last ten years but I experienced this for the first time… it was scariest moment of my life,” said one of the passengers in the Jabalpur-Delhi flight.

A SpiceJet spokesperson confirmed the incident and said none of the passengers were injured. The airline representative identified the damaged aircraft as VT-SUL, a Bombardier Q400 turboprop.

A second passenger said the flight, piloted by Taranjeet Kaur, had a routine take-off and “everything went well until the landing”.

“We are looking into it. It was perhaps a case of hard landing,” said an official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, requesting not to be named since he was not authorised to speak on the matter.

“It could have caused damage to the main body as well. Luckily, nothing of that sort happened.”

The official ruled out lack of visibility as a possible reason for the incident.

Delhi and its surrounding areas have been enveloped in a toxic haze originating from crop fires, reducing visibility to mere metres. The smog has led to several accidents in the surrounding states, some resulting in deaths.