A Tata Group-run Air India plane to Bengaluru, an A320neo, returned to Mumbai airport a mere 27 minutes after takeoff as one of its engines shut down mid-air due to a technical error. The passengers were flown to their destination after a change of aircraft on Thursday, Air India spokesperson said.
The pilots of the aircraft received a warning about high exhaust gas temperatures just minutes after takeoff at 9:43 am. When that engine shut down, the pilot made an emergency landing back to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at 10:10 am, according to sources.
The carrier has two engines and can safely fly with just one, officials said. However, following the protocol, pilots decided to make the emergency landing. According to an official, by the time the plane landed in Mumbai, air traffic control had alerted fire services and ambulances.
Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is conducting an investigation into the incident, sources said. The DGCA is looking through photographs of the engine that show serious damage, with quite a few compressor blades sheared off, sources added. The Air India A320neo planes have CFM’s Leap engines, which have not reported technical issues in the past.
“Our Engineering and Maintenance teams had immediately started looking into the issue" adding “The scheduled flight had left with passengers to Bengaluru after a change of aircraft” Air India spokesperson said. The carrier was scheduled to land in Bengaluru at 11 am. Passengers arrived at their destination with a delay of over three hours, at 2:40 pm, onboard the changed aircraft.
"It was a normal technical snag and the plane returned without any turbulence," a senior Air India official said, adding that the DGCA inquiry into the matter is a routine exercise carried out by the regulatory authority.
Headquartered at New Delhi, Air India is owned by Talace Private Limited, a Special-Purpose Vehicle of Tata Sons. Founded by J. R. D. Tata in 1932, it is India’s oldest airline. The airline has 27 Airbus A320neo planes and a fleet of 117 planes, according to officials at Air India.