In a protracted episode of Indian airlines dealing with technical malfunctions on their planes, Wadia Group-owned GoFirst witnessed incidents on two of its flights on Tuesday on Airbus A320neos, powered by Pratt & Whitney engines.
These devices have been grounded by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and will only fly after authorization from the regulator. This is contrary to established practice that an airline’s maintenance unit clears the aircraft to fly after a fault is discovered.
In the first incident, which occurred early on Tuesday, a flight bound for Leh from Mumbai diverted to Delhi after a fault was discovered in the engine interface unit at the power station of the right side. In the second occurrence, the aircraft flying the Srinagar-Delhi route turned back to its home airport after the exhaust gas temperature exceeded the limit.
“We are investigating and in the meantime these two planes are grounded and will only fly when cleared by the DGCA,” a senior regulatory official said. The Indian Express.
A GoFirst spokesperson did not comment on the matter.
The incidents came just a day after the DGCA reported mounting technical issues with Indian carriers and issued a missive asking airlines to address the shortcomings by July 28. and do not place qualified engineers at all airports. This was discovered during spot checks by the DGCA in light of the increase in incidents.
The regulator also pointed to an “uptrend” in aircraft minimum equipment list (MEL) releases. An MEL allows the aircraft to be operated safely even if something is broken on the aircraft only under specific conditions or for a limited flight time before it is required to undergo maintenance.
Multiple incidents have occurred on planes operated by Indian carriers over the past few days, ranging from engine hitches and a burning smell in the cabin to a bird entering the cockpit of the plane. Low-cost airline SpiceJet has seen at least eight incidents in less than a month, and the regulator issued a show cause notice to the airline, saying it had ‘failed’ to establish safe, efficient air services and reliable.
Meanwhile, in another GoFirst incident on Tuesday, a plane about to take off from Leh for Delhi had to abort takeoff after a dog was spotted on the runway.