On Monday evening, an IndiGo ATR 72-600 operating flight 6E7979 from Kannur to Hubbali in the Indian state of Karnataka suffered a burst tire during a second attempt to land at the airport. The airline says all passengers and crew are safe and that the aircraft is undergoing maintenance at the airport.
Crosswind prompts go-around
As reported by the Times of India, the incident occurred during the crew’s second attempt to land the aircraft as heavy crosswinds caused a last-minute go-around after an initial touchdown. A spokesperson for the airline shared the following statement with Simple Flying,
“IndiGo ATR operating 6e-7979 from Kannur to Hubballi reported tyre burst at Hubli upon arrival yesterday evening. All passengers and crew are safe. Aircraft is currently under maintenance checks at Hubbali.”
– #IndiGo ATR aircraft VT-IYX operating flight 6E-7979 had a tyre burst while landing at Hubli last night.
– Aircraft remained stuck in the middle of runway, now pulled out.
– All 5 passengers safe. pic.twitter.com/kTUNfpj4Gg
— @Rakesh (@Rakesh5_) June 15, 2021
The flight, operated by two-year-old VT-IYX, took off from Kannur at 18:45. It touched down for the first time on schedule at 20:03 but took off immediately again due to the heavy winds. After an extra 20 minutes in the air, the aircraft landed again at 20:32, which is when the tire burst. The runway was reportedly cleared by 02:00 on Tuesday morning.
Air Taxi fame: IndiGo ATR aircraft VT-IYX operating flight 6E-7979 had a tyre burst while landing at Hubli last night.
Aircraft remained stuck in the middle of runway, now pulled out.
All 5 passengers and 4 crew members are safe. pic.twitter.com/RykJTzCqAB
— Naresh Kumar Sagar (@Nksagar) June 15, 2021
Expecting a fleet of 50
Leading Indian budget carrier IndiGo operates a fleet of 26 ATR 72s and has orders for another 24 for a total of 50. The airline signed the order in May 2017. At the time, it was worth $1.3 billion in list price.
It was also a significant shift from IndiGo’s standard low-cost A320 family operations towards a play for the regional Indian market, partly subsidized through the government’s regional connectivity scheme ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik – Endeavour to make common people fly’ (UDAN) that launched the same year of the order.
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What happens when an aircraft tire bursts?
When a tire bursts upon landing, it does not really explode but rather deflates. If a tire bursts during takeoff at low speed, the pilots will abort. However, they will take off, circle, and then return for a safety inspection if it occurs at high speed. Pilots may not always be aware that a tire has burst if it occurs late during departure but may be alerted to the fact by air traffic control.
While it seems as if it would make more sense to fly to the destination rather than circle to burn fuel as they will need to land with a deflated tire anyway, the pilots cannot know if the tire burst has caused any other damage to the aircraft.
The most horrific and spectacular burst-tire incident was Air France’s Concorde Flight 4590 in July 2000. The aircraft was taking off from Paris-Charles de Gaulle on its way to New York JFK when it ran over debris on the runway. This caused one of the tires to burst, in turn sending debris into the underside of the left wing. In a series of unfortunate and tragic events, the left fuel tank exploded, costing the lives of 113 people.