A brief history of A-320's journey in India!

A brief history of A-320's journey in India!
  • The first batch of Airbus A-320 started joining Indian-Airlines in 1989.
  • After one of the planes from A-320 fleet crashed in Bengaluru in 1990, the fleet was grounded following debates over "fly-by-wire" technology.
  • These planes were finally cleared to fly again for Air-India in December 1990.
  • Currently, Air-India has seven Airbus A-320 in its fleet which are more than 20 years old.

The Airbus A-320 family


The Airbus A-320 family are short-mediam range, narrow-body commercial passenger twin-engine jet airlines which includes A-319, A-320 and A-321 aircrafts. Air-India has only 52 aircrafts available for use inspite of having a fleet of 64 in the A-320 family.

A-320 faces wheel-snag!

15 Mar 2015
A-320 faces wheel-snag!
  • Air-India's first batch of Airbus A-320 (26-year-old) flight from Delhi to Vadodara flew back to Delhi on an emergency landing as it faced a wheel-snag.
  • The 1989 made aircraft's left-side main landing-gear got stuck.
  • The crew operating the A-320 fleet have been complaining about its low-functionality for a long time.
  • The reported problems were problematic weather-radar, non-functional auxiliary power and probability of hydraulic failure.

Withered aircraft crashes

25 Mar 2015
Withered aircraft crashes
  • A 24-year-old German Airbus-320 crashed in the French Alps on a flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.
  • Almost all lives were lost in the plane-crash.
  • The age of the aircraft which crashed, raised safety concerns and arguments began about Air-India's A-320 fleet, some of which age upto 26 year old.
  • AI flies the oldest Airbus A-320's in the world and therefore were subjected to debates.

Pilot-union raises safety warnings!

29 Mar 2015
Pilot-union raises safety warnings!
  • The Indian Commercial Pilot's-Association(ICPA) from Indian-Airlines and Air-India had raised several crucial questions complaining about the 26-year-old Airbus A-320's to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) Chief, M Sathiyavathi.
  • According to ICPA, the A-320's "are operated with repetitive snags endangering flight safety" and therefore, DGCA should not permit the operation of such "lethal snag-prone" aircrafts.
  • AI maintained that the aircrafts are certified and safe.

Injuries caused while emergency landing of Airbus-320

7 Sep 2015
Injuries caused while emergency landing of Airbus-320
  • The Airbus A320 aircraft of Air-India (AI) which operated the flight AI-405 from Varanasi with 149 passengers onboard developed a hydraulic problem enroute.
  • Keeping with safety-rules, an emergency landing at Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi) was followed by an evacuation program.
  • After the emergency-landing, one of the wheels had caught fire.
  • Amidst the panic and rush during the evacuation-program, 5-7 passengers sustained minor injuries.

Safety concerns rekindled for AI's A-320 fleet!

9 Sep 2015
Safety concerns rekindled for AI's A-320 fleet!
  • After the incident of 7 September, the pilot-association's issues of safety for the old Airbus-320 fleet of Air-India have surfaced again.
  • This has triggered a debate regarding safety-concerns for passengers who have been complaining for a while.
  • Union Minister, Mahesh Sharma has refuted charges that Air-India was flying "faulty aircrafts" by ratifying that the incident did not take place due to "safety issues".

Better planning is the need of the hour!

Better planning is the need of the hour!
  • Aviation regulator, DGCA has yet denied any fault on the part of Air-India in continuing to fly old planes ratifying that they are air-worthy.
  • It has ordered a detailed investigation on the incident of 7 September.
  • Air-India's Chairman, MD Ashwani Lohani should immediately review maintenance and safety protocol of the Airbus A-320 fleet.
  • Lohani had already laid out some plans regarding the same, previously.

What is to be done?

What is to be done?
  • Lohani has asked engineering staff to ensure that atleast four more Airbus-320 family aircraft are made available by the end of this month so that old planes can be discarded.
  • He has tasked engineering subsidiary AIESL to draw a plan of spending $300 million raised through ECB's to be deployed in maintenance of AI's fleet.
  • He also wants a thorough plan for Nagpur's MRO-unit.

The failed turaround plan!


As per the turnaround plan of the government, Air-India should have 72 narrow-body aircrafts in its fleet by now. It has been looking to lease 19 (including 8 A-320's) but 14 of these may arrive only by 2017 which is too late.