The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has started a probe into the mid-air snag that forced the diversion of an Air India Express flight to Mumbai.
The flight carrying more than 100 passengers from Bahrain to Bangalore made an emergency landing in Mumbai on Saturday after the pilots detected a problem with the plane’s left engine.
According to the preliminary investigation by the aviation safety regulator, there was severe oil leakage from the aircraft’s left engine.
“It is a serious matter. We will probe whether the aircraft was thoroughly checked before it took off from Bahrain,” said a senior DGCA official requesting anonymity.
The pilots, cabin crew and engine crew could be called in for questioning at the DGCA office later this next week.
The DGCA will also probe whether the pilots’ distress call met the requirements of the standard operating procedure for such mid-air scares.
The pilots had sought permission to land on priority under “local standby” conditions —the lowest level of emergency preparedness for an airfield.
Fire tenders, airport medical units and safety officers are alerted about a suspected snag-hit aircraft in such a situation, but they are not summoned close to the airstrip.
“In case of such a snag, the pilots would have switched off the snag-hit engine and landed on a single engine. The DGCA guidelines state that single engine landings should be treated as a full emergency,” said a former Airbus commander.
Full emergency is the highest alert level, wherein safety services are deployed next to the airstrip where a snag-hit aircraft makes a touchdown.