An IndiGo A320 was forced to return to Indore after the windshield developed a crack following takeoff. Flight 6E 6195 was flying from Indore to Chennai when it was forced to turn around just minutes into the flight. The flight landed safely and no injuries were reported.
The incident occurred on IndiGo flight 6E 6195 on Tuesday, 16th February. The flight was scheduled to depart Indore Airport at 15:30 local time and left the stand on time. After takeoff, the flight began its journey to Chennai with an eastward turn towards the south of the Indian peninsula.
However, just five minutes after departure (15:36 local time) and during the climb to cruising altitude, the aircraft encountered an issue. From 15,000 feet, the plane began reducing its altitude and made a quick turn back towards Indore Airport. It continued to reduce its altitude to under 10,000 feet and 5,000 feet as it approached the airport once again.
After a brief approach loop, the flight landed safely at Indore Airport at 16:03 local time, just over half an hour after departing. According to The Aviation Herald, no injuries were reported and a backup plane was deployed to carry the impacted passengers. The replacement flight reached Chennai 2.5 hours later than scheduled.
The aircraft involved in the incident, currently registered VT-IKB, is a 14.4-year-old Airbus A320-200, according to Planespotters.net. The plane was first delivered to Air Deccan in October 2006, which later became Simplifly Deccan and eventually merged with now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
After Deccan, the plane went to SriLankan Airlines in December 2008, which flew the plane for nearly six years until May 2014. The plane was then leased out to Mexican low-cost airline Viva Aerobus from July 2014 to August 2018. In January 2019, the plane made it to its current home with IndiGo.
The A320-200 is a reliable aircraft with thousands currently in active service around the world. While it might be overshadowed by its more efficient successor, the A320neo, the aircraft remains a workhorse in several airline fleets.
Cracked windshields rare
Aircraft windshields are built to withstand everything from bird strikes to rapid heating and cooling during takeoffs and landings. However, they also require routine maintenance and replacement every few years once they reach a certain usage. Incidents of cracked windshields are relatively rare but certainly not unheard of in planes.
The plane will likely undergo checks to see what caused the cracked windshield, with many possible reasons. Additionally, a windshield replacement will also be carried out to get the plane back in the sky soon.
IndiGo is currently in the process of retiring all of its A320ceos, or -200s, and modernize its fleet with A320neos. This has meant the airline has been continuing its delivery schedule and became Airbus’ biggest customer in 2020, taking on 44 new aircraft.