New Delhi: Air India’s Dubai-Kochi flight was diverted to Mumbai on Thursday after the pilot-in-command reported a loss in cabin pressure, officials of aviation regulator DGCA said. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has grounded the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft and off-rostered this flight’s crew, they said. It has also started investigating the incident, the officials said.
DGCA officials said that when the Air India flight was heading from Dubai to Kochi on Thursday, the pilot observed a loss in cabin pressure and immediately contacted the integrated operations control centre (IOCC) of the airline as well as the air traffic controller. Oxygen masks were deployed so that the passengers do not face any discomfiture. The plane was allowed to divert to the nearest airport, which in this case was the one in Mumbai and it landed safely, they added.
This is the third instance in the last three days when the aviation regulator grounded a plane after an incident. On Tuesday, Go First’s Mumbai-Leh and Srinagar-Delhi flights faced engine snags and both the planes were grounded by the DGCA. An Air India spokesperson said the matter has been reported to the DGCA. ‘Flight AI 934, operating from Dubai to Cochin, was diverted to Mumbai today due to a technical issue. The B787 aircraft landed safely at Mumbai at 1912 hrs with 247 passengers and crew. An alternate aircraft is being arranged to carry passengers from Mumbai to Kochi’, the spokesperson said.
An aircraft generally operates at an altitude of around 30,000 feet where the oxygen level is quite less. Therefore, all aircraft create pressure inside the cabin so that there is sufficient oxygen for passengers and crew members. There have been multiple technical malfunction incidents in planes flown by Indian carriers in the last one month. Between Sunday and Tuesday, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia held multiple meetings with airlines and officials from his ministry and DGCA to ensure safety oversight.
The DGCA had on Monday said it conducted spot checks and found that an insufficient number of engineering personnel were certifying planes of various carriers before take-off. Before each departure, an aircraft is checked and certified by an aircraft maintenance engineer (AME). The DGCA has now issued guidelines for airlines on deployment of qualified AMEs and directed them to comply by July 28. The spot checks also found that AME teams of airlines are improperly identifying the ’cause of a reported defect’, the DGCA order stated.
A Go First flight heading from Delhi to Guwahati on Wednesday was diverted to Jaipur after the A320neo aircraft’s windshield cracked mid-air. On July 17, IndiGo’s Sharjah-Hyderabad flight was diverted to Karachi as a precautionary measure after pilots observed a defect in one engine. On the night of July 16, the Calicut-Dubai flight of the Air India Express was diverted to Muscat after a burning smell was observed in the cabin mid-air. A live bird was found in the cockpit of the Air India Express Bahrain-Kochi flight on July 15. SpiceJet is also under the scanner. On July 6, the DGCA issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet following at least eight incidents of technical malfunction in its aircraft since June 19. The DGCA is currently investigating all these incidents.