1 Technical glitches and flight cancellations
India’s airlines have reported an unusual jump in technical glitches and related flight cancellations and delays in the past few days, raising passenger safety concerns. Over the weekend, market leader IndiGo reported as many as five technical glitches, while SpiceJet and Jet Airways reported three each and flag carrier Air India saw two.
2 Safety concerns
IndiGo grounded one aircraft after incidents were reported in Delhi, Jammu, Kochi, Mumbai and Srinagar for reasons including oil chip in the engine and fuel leak that were detected during checks.
“An A320 (non-neo) aircraft, VT INZ, operating Cochin-Mumbai and another A320 (non-neo) aircraft, VT IFU, operating Mumbai-Goa had technical snag detected during departure. Both these aircraft were immediately withdrawn for rectification. The issues were rectified and the aircraft are back in operation,” IndiGo said in a statement. “Out of 2,000 plus flights in past 48 hours, the airline detected five technical snags and out of these only one aircraft has been grounded. Rest four aircraft are back in operation,” it added.
3 Reasons to worry
A Jet Airways aircraft, flying between Mumbai and Jaipur, was grounded after a wheel of the Boeing 737 was damaged upon landing, industry sources said. A Mumbai-Doha flight operated by the airline, an Airbus 330, had to return to the bay before take-off due to vibration in one of the engines. The flight departed over two-and-half hours late, after the problem was resolved.
A Jet Airways spokesperson said the grounding of the Mumbai-Jaipur flight and the delay of the Mumbai-Doha flight were necessitated by “technical” reasons. “At Jet Airways, safety is of paramount importance,” the spokesperson said in an emailed response to ET’s queries.
4 A small issue, say airlines
A Patna-Hyderabad-Chennai flight of SpiceJet, also a Boeing 737, was grounded in Hyderabad due to a problem with its wheel and brake, said sources. The airline had to press another aircraft into service for an onward flight to Chennai, which was delayed by four and a half hours, they said.
SpiceJet said there was only a small issue with the wheel and no damage to any parts.“There was no damage of any kind to either the aircraft, engine, wheel or brake of the aircraft. There was a small issue with the wheel, which was replaced and the aircraft returned to operation for its next rotation,” SpiceJet said in a response.
5 All is well or….?
IndiGo and GoAir are the two airlines hit the most by the regulator-ordered grounding of Airbus 320neos with the new series engine. Besides these 11 aircraft, three other 320neos of IndiGo are also grounded since February.
Between them, the two airlines operate 58 airplanes, including the ones that are grounded.