India probes Boeing 737 Max mid-air emergency event Representational Image (ANI Photo)
INDIAN officials are looking into an incident involving a Boeing 737 Max in which the aircraft had to be turned back to the western city of Mumbai soon after it took off for the eastern city of Kolkata, located more than 1,000 miles away, and the pilots shut down an engine due to technical reasons. The incident happened on Thursday (9).
According to Bloomberg which reported about the incident, the plane is operated by SpiceJet Limited.
The aircraft landed in Mumbai safely with no cases of injury but the incident raised an alarm since it involved a model which returned to the skies in India only recently following a prolonged global grounding after two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Faulty software was primarily blamed for the twin disasters.
Arun Kumar, director general of Indian aviation regulator – Directorate General of Civil Aviation – told Bloomberg in a text message that India cannot “prejudge” whether the mid-air incident requires any action on the entire fleet and asked both Boeing and engine-maker CFM International Inc. for more information.
The plane’s crew shut down the engine after an “oil filter bypass light got illuminated in cruise,” Kumar said earlier on Friday (10). It did not hamper the process of bringing the plane back to safety since modern commercial planes are equipped to run on a single engine.
SpiceJet revealed that Flight 467 returned to Mumbai safely after experiencing a technical issue but didn’t elaborate. The Times of India reported the incident earlier on Friday.
Data from Flightradar.com showed the aircraft started turning back after about 15 minutes in the air following its take-off on Thursday evening.
The engine of the plane is manufactured by CFM, a venture between General Electric Co. and France’s Safran SA. The incident didn’t appear to be connected to automated software known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, which was considered as the main reason for the air crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed nearly 350 people, Bloomberg added.
It was soon after the Ethiopia crash that the Max was grounded worldwide in March 2019.
The single-aisle plane returned to service in most major markets except China in the past one year following extensive fixes. India also cleared it.
SpiceJet has 13 Max planes in its fleet and more than 200 on order.