Close shave: IndiGo plane suffers mid-air engine failure; returns safely
In yet another mishap in the Indian aviation industry, an IndiGo Airbus A320neo suffered a mid-air engine failure while flying to Kolkata from Chennai on January 3. Thankfully, despite considerable damage to its engine, the plane managed to return to Chennai, thereby avoiding a major air tragedy. Currently, the plane remains grounded, and investigations are underway. Here are the details.
The incident involved a Pratt & Whitney engine, which, sources said, stalled in mid-air with a "loud bang". Sparks started flying and smoke could be seen. The incident with the engine led to the aircraft vibrating heavily, and the flight had to return to Chennai under emergency conditions. The number of passengers on the flight, 6E 923, could not be ascertained immediately.
"The crew followed the normal operating procedures and asked for a priority landing. There was no engine shutdown and no emergency landing was declared as per the report," said IndiGo in a statement.
After the engine failure came to light, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said that the civil aviation ministry had taken "serious note" of the incident. Meanwhile, a team from the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), the government's apex aircraft investigation body, was rushed to Chennai to take stock of the situation and initiate further investigations into the engine failure.
The most worrying part, perhaps, is the fact that this is not the first incident of its kind. Since inducting Airbus A320neos to its fleet in 2016, IndiGo has faced multiple incidents where there were issues with the US-made Pratt & Whitney engines that power the planes. For each grounding pertaining to such issues, IndiGo had also received compensation from Airbus and Pratt & Whitney.