Bangalore-bound Akasa Air flight returns to Mumbai Airport after bird strike

LONDON – Akasa Air, who took its first flight two months ago, had a suspected bird strike during takeoff on its Mumbai-Bengaluru flight operated by a Boeing 737 MAX 8 on Friday.  

The crew stopped climbing at about 10,000 feet, reporting they had received a bird strike and now had a strong odor in the cabin.

The flight returned safely to Mumbai Airport 30 minutes after departure after a burning smell was detected in the cabin, which later turned out to be due to a bird strike, a DGCA official said on Saturday.

There was no confirmation of the number of passengers on board the flight. 

The aircraft landed safely in Mumbai, and all passengers were deboarded. Arrangements were made to accommodate their journey.

Airline statement

“Akasa Air flight QP 1103, flying from Mumbai to Bengaluru on October 14, diverted back to Mumbai due to odor in the cabin resulting from a bird strike.”

“The aircraft landed safely in Mumbai, and all passengers were deboarded. The aircraft was positioned for a detailed inspection and has now returned to service,” an Akasa Air spokesperson said. 

“The aircraft VT-YAE, operating Akasa Air flight AKJ1103 from Mumbai for Bangalore, was involved in air turnback due to the burning smell felt in the cabin. The smell increased as the thrust was increased,”

“The aircraft was positioned for a detailed inspection and has now returned to service. Our customer service team assisted passengers, and arrangements were made to accommodate their journeys. We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused,” the statement added.

“At Akasa Air, passenger safety and comfort is our highest priority, and our crew followed all protocols as per our operating procedures, ” a spokesperson of the company said.

It has been confirmed that bird remains were found on the number 1 engine of the aircraft. 

History of Akasa Air

The Indian low-cost airline was founded in December 2021 and only commenced operations two months ago, on August 7th, 2022. It is the first Indian carrier to be launched in nearly a decade.

They have 7 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft with 11 on order, along with 54 Boeing 737 MAX 8-200 on order.

Their fleet size will be 18 by the end of March 2023, and over the next four years, the airline will add 54 additional aircraft, taking its total fleet size to 72. All their Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are valued at nearly 9 billion dollars. 

After two months of operating, this would be Akasa Air’s first in-flight incident that involves suspected damage to one of their aircraft. 

On August 25th, the airline suffered a data breach. It was reported that names, gender, email addresses, and phone numbers may have been viewed by unauthorized individuals; however, no travel-related information, travel records, or payment information was compromised.

Thankfully all passengers and crew who were onboard flight AKJ1103 were safe. With the airline operating many flights a day, it is to expect something like this won’t happen again. 

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