Smell in cabin: Air India Express flight diverted to Muscat
Air India Express's Calicut-Dubai flight was diverted to Muscat, Oman, on Saturday night after a burning smell was observed in the cabin mid-air, PTI reported. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has launched an investigation into the matter. The incident comes at a time when the aviation regulator is already investigating several airlines in India for developing difficulties mid-air that forced emergency landings.
- India is currently the third-largest domestic aviation market in the world.
- It is expected to overtake the UK to become the third-largest air passenger market by 2024, as per India Brand Equity Foundation.
- The latest incidents are, however, seen as a setback to the growing sector, which has emerged as one of the fastest-growing industries lately.
As per the DGCA officials, the Air India Express flight's pilots reported that a burning smell was coming from one of the vents in the forward galley. The pilots, therefore, diverted the plane to Muscat and landed safely, the officials said. Meanwhile, the DGCA started investigating the incident and will decide on a further course of action after that, they noted.
This is the third Indian airline-operated aircraft to land in a foreign country in less than two weeks. On Sunday, IndiGo's Sharjah-Hyderabad flight was diverted to Karachi after the pilot reported a technical snag. Similarly, on July 5, a SpiceJet Boeing 737 Max flight from Delhi to Dubai was diverted to Karachi due to an aircraft indicator light malfunction.
A survey released by Bloomberg in May said air travelers were getting increasingly dissatisfied with Indian airlines' poor services and behavior. The report said that nearly 80% of the 15,000 airline customers polled by LocalCircles feel that Indian carriers are compromising passenger comfort. The survey also indicated that cutting corners on services by the airlines was happening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Air India Express is a subsidiary of Air India, which was recently taken over by Tata Sons. Notably, the Tatas set up Tata Airlines in 1932, which was renamed Air India in 1946. The government took the airline's control in 1953. Last year, the government sold Air India to a Tata Group subsidiary marking the return of AI to the Tatas after 69 years.