India’s aviation regulatory authority Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is probing the incident of SpiceJet’s Boeing 737 Max aircraft, wherein the plane was forced to return to Mumbai airport shortly after it took off to Kolkata from the airport. According to SpiceJet, an engine snag of Boeing 737 Max was the reason for the emergency landing. The aircraft returned to the airport within 15 minutes of the take-off.
According to SpiceJet, the number two engine oil filter bypass light got illuminated mid-air. The plane was landed safely, and no passenger was harmed.
Boeing will join DGCA for carrying out the investigation. “We are investigating in consultation with OEM. Further action shall depend on the outcome of the investigation,” Director General of DGCA Arun Kumar told The Hindu.
“The aircraft with registration number VT-MXE would remain grounded until cleared by the regulator,” he added.
Less than a month after SpiceJet restarted using Boeing 737 Max aircraft
The issue of technical snag comes less than a month after SpiceJet restarted the operations using its Boeing 737 Max aircraft. The aircraft model was grounded worldwide for two and half years following two fatal air crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing 346 people. A software issue overrode the pilot’s inputs and pushed the plane’s nose downward after taking off in multiple cases, causing the accidents.
After making necessary software rectification, Boeing received the clearance for its 737 Max aircraft from regulators worldwide. India lifted the ban in August 2021. The issue of an emergency landing at Mumbai airport is the first of such kind reported after 737 Max aircraft made it's way back into operations.
SpiceJet is the only carrier using Boeing 737 Max for passenger services in India. The budget career currently has 13 Boeing 737 Max planes in its fleet. Last month, SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh announced its plan to induct 50 Boeing 737 Mac aircraft into its fleet by December 2021. He also said that two 737 Max planes of the 13 grounded aircraft had already started operations, with another four lying in the Boeing facility for SpiceJet. The delivery of the next four Boeing 737 Max planes was expected to begin from December 10.