On Wednesday, one of IndiGo’s brand new Airbus A321neos got stuck as it was taxiing to the runway at Srinagar Airport in Kashmir. One of its engines made contact with snow that had accumulated during clearance efforts following a week of heavy snowfalls. This prompted the airline to replace the aircraft – with an even newer plane.
The aircraft was operating flight 6E 2559 from Srinagar to Delhi with a scheduled departure time of 11:15. It was on its way to take off for Delhi when its right-wing engine cowling got caught in a mound of snow next to the taxiway.
The A321neo involved in the incident, VT-IUZ, was delivered to IndiGo from Hamburg on December 17th, 2020. The airline has confirmed it is currently held at Srinagar and is being examined to determine whether it has sustained any damage.
The 231 passengers on board were transferred to a replacement aircraft. The flight took off from Srinagar at 15:00. It arrived at Delhi at 16:04 local time, three hours and four minutes behind schedule.
— Breaking Aviation News & Videos (@breakingavnews) January 13, 2021
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One day difference
According to data from FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft’s understudy was VT-ILC. The plane was delivered to the airline just one day after its stable-mate stuck in the snow, so those hoping to fly on a brand new IndiGo A321neo were not disappointed.
“IndiGo flight 6E 2559 operating from Srinagar to New Delhi today was held back at Srinagar. While taxiing out, the aircraft came in close contact with the snow which was accumulated adjacent to the taxiway,” the airline said in a statement to the Times of India.
A week of traffic disruptions
Air traffic to and from Kashmir was disrupted Saturday due to heavy snowfall. Operations were halted, and at least seven flights were canceled while clearance teams dealt with snow that had accumulated on the runway.
One week prior, all traffic to and from Srinagar was suspended entirely for four days in the wake of heavy snow. As this also closed off the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and Mughal road, it left Kashmir effectively cut-off from the rest of the country.
@Aaisnrairport Snow clearance job was going full night but again due heavy snow fall roads are covered with snow, however again all team escalating their work to make possible ambience for aircraft operation today .@AAI_Official @aaiRedNR pic.twitter.com/MdKF4R8KPr
— Srinagar Airport (@Aaisnrairport) January 6, 2021
Thankfully, Wednesday’s incident of IndiGo’s run-in with snow was minor and resulted only in a few hours of delay for the flight’s passengers. While close snow-encounters like this are rare, they do happen.
In January 2019, the pilot of a Boeing 737 belonging to Czech low-cost carrier Smartwings took a wrong turn at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Rather than taking off for Prague, the aircraft got caught in the snow, causing the entire runway to be shut down.
In February the same year, a WestJet Boeing 737 got stuck in the snow after landing and turning off the runway at Toronto Pearson. All 123 passengers and six crew were unharmed, and the plane could taxi to the gate by its own power after the snow was cleared away.
Have your travel plans ever been affected by snow? Tell us about your experience in the comments.