The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has announced an engineering audit of Air India (AI) following two incidents of fire on its flights last week.
A senior official in DGCA said, “We will audit all four engineering bases of AI at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad. We will check records of all aircraft in AI fleet, we will examine if AMEs (Aircraft Maintenance Engineers) are conducting proper checks before an aircraft is airborne, if aircrafts are being flown with any defects and if the airline is keeping in stock adequate spares.” As of June 2015, AI had 105 aircraft in its fleet.
The probe by the DGCA follows two incidents of fire at the Delhi and the Mumbai airports respectively. On September 8, an AI flight from Jaipur to Mumbai caught fire in the right tailpipe while passengers were disembarking from the aircraft in Mumbai. “The crew of another aircraft passing by noticed fire in the right tailpipe and alerted the ATC. An AME on stand-by extinguished the fire. The presence of excess fuel in the tailpipe had led to the fire. We will probe if Air India aircraft are being maintained properly”, said the official.
A day earlier, AI flight AI405, with 153 people on-board, from Varanasi had made an emergency landing at the Delhi airport following a hydraulic failure. The flight had originated from Khajuraho for Varanasi, from where it took off for Delhi. After the plane touched down at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, smoke was seen from the under carriage as one of the wheels caught fire and the pilot opted for evacuation.
Six passengers sustained minor injuries during the emergency evacuation that followed.