Sunday, 22 May 2022

Air India mid-air crisis as engine shuts down


Just 27 minutes after take-off, an Air India flight heading to Bengaluru (Bangalore) International Airport (BLR/VOBL) from Mumbai-Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM/VABB) had to return to the Mumbai airport after one of its engines shut down mid-air on Thursday, prompting the Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) to launch an investigation.

The Airbus A320neo aircraft has two engines and can fly safely with just one, officials said. The pilots, following protocol, decided to go for full emergency landing.

"The aircraft departed at 9:43 am from runway 27 and soon after take-off pilots received a warning in the cockpit indicating extremely high exhaust gas temperatures.

According to reports, by the time the plane landed back in Mumbai, again on runway 27, air traffic control had alerted ambulances and fire services.

The DGCA is now going through photographs of the engine that show serious damage, with quite a few compressor blades sheared off, sources said.

Passengers of Air India flight AI-639, which was scheduled to land in Bengaluru at 11.10 am, eventually departed Mumbai at 1.16 p.m. and arrived at the destination over three hours late at 2:40 pm onboard another A320 aircraft. (VT-EXQ)

According to officials at Air India, which is now run by the Tata Group, the airline has 27 Airbus A320neo planes.

"We have a total strength of 117 planes, and all go through regular maintenance technical checks," an official said.

In a statement, the company said, "Air India accords top priority to safety and our crew are well adept at handling these situations. Our engineering and maintenance teams are looking into the issue."

The aircraft involved has been grounded, an Air India spokes person said.

Air India are now investigating three separate incidents from the past two months where airline pilots had to shut down plane engines mid-flight.

The so-called commanded in-flight shutdowns - when pilots intentionally turn off one of the two engines after encountering problems - may have stemmed from different issues. 
All three incidents involved engines made by CFM, a joint venture between GE and France’s Safran SA.  All the planes landed safely. The incidents involved two Airbus A320neo jets, operated by Air India Ltd., and a Boeing Co. 737 Max aircraft, operated by Indian carrier SpiceJet Ltd

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Air India
Code: AI/AIC
Aircraft: Airbus A320-251N
Registration: VT-EXM
Serial Number: 8056
Engines: 2 x CFMI LEAP-1A26
First Flew: 19/01/2018
Age: 4.3 Yrs

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