Five Airbus A320neos were damaged at Ahemdabad Airport following an unexpected storm. Three aircraft belonged to IndiGo and two to Go First, both of which are low-cost airlines. While the damage was minor, the planes will be pulled out of service for repairs and checks before flying again.
According to Mint, an unexpected thunderstorm and strong winds caused havoc at Ahemdabad Airport. At least six passenger planes suffered some degree of damage or were impacted by the sudden change in weather conditions.
Three IndiGo aircraft sustained minor/non-structural damages after #Ahmedabad airport was hit by a thunderstorm last evening. This impacted all airlines’ aircraft parked there. #TV9News pic.twitter.com/QWvo0IKCR0
— tv9gujarati (@tv9gujarati) June 17, 2021
Three IndiGo and two Go First (formerly GoAir) Airbus A320neos were among those damaged during the storm. The aircraft impacted were registered: VT- IVO, VT-ITD, and VT-IVQ for IndiGo, and VT-WGV and VT-WJG for Go First, according to Times Now.
Luckily, an IndiGo spokesperson has confirmed to Simple Flying that the damage to its three aircraft was minimal, saying,
“Ahmedabad airport was hit by an unexpected thunderstorm with extremely high winds last evening. This impacted all airlines’ aircraft parked at Ahmedabad airport. Three IndiGo aircraft sustained minor/non-structural damages which will require replacement of certain parts. The aircraft shall be in operations after necessary repairs.”
GoAir has declined to comment citing the ongoing investigation. It’s currently unclear how its two aircraft were impacted, although no major damage has been reported. One SpiceJet Boeing 737 was blown away from its bay due to the storm, but did not suffer any structural damage. It has since been towed back to its stand and undergone checks.
. Aircraft structural damage due to bad weather in AMD.
— Tajas Aviation Academy (@TajasAviation) June 17, 2021
As the planes were blown around by the sudden and severe storm, Ahemdabad Airport was forced to cancel and delay dozens of flights on Wednesday and Thursday. Data from RadarBox.com shows that at least four flights have been canceled on Friday as well, although it’s unclear how much this has to do with the storm and will low loads instead (all are GoAir flights).
While Ahemdabad continues to see rain, thunder, and winds, airport operations seem to be back on track. However, images show the extent of the thunderstorm, with one aircraft step falling over and its covering torn apart. According to the Times of India, one plane was its wingtip damaged, while the other saw its slats impacted.
The DGCA has launched an investigation into the aircraft damage at Ahemdabad Airport and will report back with the circumstances. However, aircraft damage due to bad weather is not a rare phenomenon by any means.
Storms in recent years have seen incidents as severe as a Qatar Airways 787 crashing into an A350. However, less severe storms (including hail) can cause issues such as runway slippages, nose damage, and much more.
There is little that can be done beyond advanced forecasting and preparing an airport to minimize possible damage from a storm. For now, all five aircraft will be headed for maintenance and repairs before they receive the all-clear to fly again.