Boeing 737 Max aircraft, operating from Mumbai to Kolkata, had technical glitch mid-air, forcing the pilots to return to Mumbai airport within 15 minutes of its departure. The aircraft departed from Mumbai airport at 6.55 pm had climbed to around 33,000 feet when it encountered a problem with its hydraulics and oil filter bypass. The aircraft landed back at the airport at 7.50 pm.
“SG- 467 working Mumbai-Kolkata returned to Mumbai after take-off attributable to a technical situation. The plane landed safely in Mumbai,” a SpiceJet spokesperson said.
The Boeing 737 Max aircraft model has a shady past of recurring problems and was grounded worldwide from March 2019 till November 2020.
The aircraft system overrode the pilot’s inputs and pushed the plane’s nose down after take-off in multiple cases. This repeated nose-diving led to two major accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing a total of 346 people. Following the dreadful incidents, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) grounded all Max planes in India on March 13, 2019.
The United States certified the aircraft model’s fitness back in November 2020 after Boeing made the required software rectifications, following which air carriers started using it for service.
The technical glitch encountered by SpiceJet could be the first issue reported with the Boeing 737 Max plane after a while. According to SpiceJet, Boeing 737 Max aircraft had operated over 2,35,000 commercial flights since it returned to the service in the US, making it a total of 5,75,000 flight hours. Around 32 airlines worldwide have resumed their services with Boeing 737 Max aircraft.
Budget carrier SpiceJet is the only operator of Max planes in India. The airline had signed a USD 22 billion deal with Boeing for 205 aircraft in 2017 and has 13 of these planes in its fleet at present. SpiceJet settled claims with Boeing to compensate for the airline’s loss due to the grounding of its 13 Boeing 737 Max fleet recently.