LONDON – AviationSource recently reported how a Spicejet 737 flying from Mumbai to Durgapur in eastern India suffered severe turbulence causing injury to 17 passengers on board.
In what seems to be an unlucky week for the Indian carrier, the airline has reported that one of its 737 MAX aircraft had to return to Chennai after an engine failure.
Ironically, what seems to be a curse for the airline, this aircraft was headed to the Durgapur in the West Bengal region.
A spokesperson for the airline commented ‘’The aircraft returned safely, no injuries were reported among passengers and crew on board.’’
What caused the return to base?
An official investigation conducted by India’s Civil Aviation Authority is currently underway; however, preliminary conclusions reveal that the in-air turnback was caused by the sudden shutdown of engine number two during the climb.
In technical jargon, the CFM LEAP-1B number 2’s oil filter bypass light illuminated, indicating full or partial engine failure.
The investigation reveals that an appropriate SOP was followed and that the pilot in command returned safely to Chennai. However, authorities report that the aircraft is grounded until further notice for investigation and maintenance.
The MAX, created to be the next generation of fuel-efficient and technologically advanced 737’s has proved to be more of a burden to airlines than a leap into the future.
The aircraft has been grounded after two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Despite it now returning to the sky, many local bureaus of aviation are still imposing restrictions on the aircraft type.
Last month the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Indian aviation watchdog, restricted 90 SpiceJet pilots from operating the MAX aircraft till they had undergone retraining to its satisfaction.
The low-cost airline has 650 pilots trained for flying the Boeing MAX. However, most await re-qualification.
The Delhi-based airline currently operates a fleet of 13 Boeing 737 max, of which only 11 are operational. Moreover, the Indian airline operates 155 beings in the classic -800 variant.
India’s aviation bureau has ordered pilot retraining after inspecting the airlines ‘max’ simulator and deeming it ‘’dysfunctional’’ for training purposes.
As a result, 90 pilots who had already re-done training were called to return to repeat the training process for the third time. The new training will last two days and will commence once the simulator is deemed fit for purpose by the aviation bureau.
The return of the MAX in India…
The DGCA allowed the aircraft to return to the Indian skies in August 2021. SpiceJet is the current sole operator of the type. However, as the Jet airways gear up to return to the skies, it too will be operating the type.
Moreover, a new Indian start-up called Akasa ordered 72 max aircraft at the Dubai Air Show. The start-up carrier is set to take off in July and hopes to receive the entirety of its order within five years.
In addition, the airline will commence with 20 whitetail aircraft that Boeing had produced but never utilized due to ongoing order cancellations when the MAX was grounded.