An AirAsia India flight was forced to shut down one engine and perform an emergency landing following a fuel leak. The incident occurred yesterday on a flight from Jaipur to Hyderabad. The plane landed safely in Hyderabad without any injuries. Let’s find out more.
Possible fuel leak led to engine shutdown
The incident occurred on AirAsia India flight (I5) 1543, flying from Jaipur to Hyderabad and continuing to Bangalore. The flight was carrying 76 passengers on Tuesday. The plane involved was an eight-year-old A320-200, registered VT-IXC, which started flying for AirAsia in 2017.
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While en route to Hyderabad, the pilots noticed a fuel leak and shut down one engine as a precaution. The flight crew informed Hyderabad tower of the situation and performed an emergency landing at Hyderabad airport, the planned destination.
In a statement, AirAsia said that its crew acted professionally and the plane was being inspected. The matter is under investigation by India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Single engine landings not uncommon
While fuel leaks can be dangerous in a flight, planes are built to operate on a single engine if needed. Engine shutdowns are also not uncommon; pilots may shut down an engine for several reasons and still safely fly the aircraft. Pilots are extensively trained to fly A320s with only one engine in case of any emergency. However, each engine shutdown, whether precautionary or not, has to be investigated for the underlying clause.
The A320 family of aircraft is capable of landing with only one engine, meaning those on board the AirAsia India flight were not at risk due to the shutdown. Under ETOPS (Extended Twin Operations) rules, the A320 can fly up to 180 minutes on a single engine, if approved.
The A320-200 involved in this incident was a relatively new aircraft at 8.2 years old, according to Airfleets. The plane was previously flown by LATAM Brazil, before being handed over to AirAsia in 2017. This aircraft was also the same one that had to perform a rejected takeoff due to a dog on the runway.
This AirAsia incident comes as domestic flights just restart in India after a two-month-long flight ban. Airlines have struggled to stay afloat as planes remained grounded and demand fell. AirAsia India, owned by AirAsia and the Tata Group, instituted sweeping pay cuts as the industry struggled. AirAsia India is currently flying to 21 domestic locations using its fleet of 30 A320-200s. According to government rules, the airline can only 33% of their allocated summer capacity due to coronavirus concerns.
This incident is currently under investigation, the details of which will emerge in the coming months. However, as the aviation industry reels from its worst downturn yet, it is essential that safety remains the highest priority as always.
What do you think about the AirAsia incident? Would you take a domestic flight right now? Let us know in the comments below.