AN INDIGO-OPERATED Airbus A320neo plane on its way from Sharjah to Hyderabad diverted to Karachi in Pakistan early on Sunday after pilots were notified of a fault in the aircraft’s right engine.
This is the latest in a series of such incidents that were reported to have occurred on aircraft operated by Indian carriers over the past few days – from engine snags and burning smell in cabin to a bird entering the airplane cockpit.
Prior to this incident, an Air India Express plane from Kozhikode to Dubai diverted to Muscat in Oman on Saturday after burning smell was experienced in one of the vents in the Boeing 737-800 aircraft’s forward galley. On board another Air India Express plane on its way from Bahrain to Kochi on Friday, a live bird was found in the cockpit of the Boeing 737-800 plane in the glove compartment of the co-pilot, while the plane was cruising at 37,000 feet.
In a statement on Sunday, IndiGo said: “IndiGo flight 6E-1406, operating from Sharjah to Hyderabad was diverted to Karachi. The pilot observed a technical defect. Necessary procedures were followed and as a precaution the aircraft was diverted to Karachi. An additional flight is being sent to Karachi to fly the passengers to Hyderabad.”
A senior official at India’s aviation safety regulator DGCA said that these incidents will be probed. IndiGo had faced another technical snag on its Thursday flight from Delhi to Vadodara, which was diverted to Jaipur after unusual vibrations were observed in the engines of the plane.
“We got over serious engine issues long time back. These are mostly precautionary and a part of a robust safety management system. Any indication that comes is to be acknowledged and responded. An aircraft has many thousands components and all have to function in harmony,” the official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.
In case of the Air India Express flight where a bird was found, sources said that prima facie it looked like a ground handling lapse at a foreign station. A spokesperson for Air India Express did not respond to queries.
Indian carriers have been plagued by technical snags over the past one month. In SpiceJet’s case, which saw at least eight incidents in less than a month, the regulator issued a show-cause notice to the airline, saying it had “failed” to establish safe, efficient and reliable air services. One of SpiceJet’s Dubai-bound planes had made a diversion to Karachi last month too after pilots discovered a technical snag.