The government has strongly backed Air India (AI) following Monday’s incident wherein one of its older aircrafts made an emergency landing in Delhi, saying there was no safety violation by the airline.
Around 150 passengers on board AI’s Khajuraho-Varanasi-Delhi flight were evacuated using slide-chutes after a small fire broke out after the plane landed following a hydraulic failure.
“This was not a safety failure. This was not practically fire but a hydraulic system leak after landing. The plane’s rim got heated up due to the oil leak. We follow all safety guidelines from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA),” said Mahesh Sharma, minister of state for civil aviation.
Aviation ministry also denied that the incident had anything to do with the age of the aircraft. “Even the B747 used by the PM is around 20 years old. Does that make it unsafe? Both the DGCA and the manufacturer, Airbus, have certified it fit to be flown,” he said.
AI pilots union had in March urged DGCA to ground the aged A320 fleet saying that the classic A320, which are 26 years old, were being operated with repetitive snags endangering flight safety.
“The flight was delayed at Khajuraho due to a snag in the engine system, which was rectified and not repeated thereafter. AI firmly clarifies that there was no hydraulic leak before departure from Khajuraho,” said an AI spokesperson.