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DGCA to investigate the air turnback of an Air India flight at Mumbai airport

Published : May 18, 2022 07:44 IST T+T-
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An Air India aircraft prepares to land at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai on January 27.

Less than three weeks after an ‘air turnback’ incident involving an Air India flight was investigated by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), May 17 witnessed yet another incident of an Air India pilot on a routine flight initiating an ‘air turnback’.

An air turnback, which occurs when an aircraft returns to land at the departure aerodrome without the pilots having initially planned to do so and is a reportable incident, was initiated during Air India’s early morning Mumbai to Kolkata (AI 675) flight. The pilot in charge took off from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on schedule at 6.26 a.m., only to return at 6.49 a.m. Confirming the air turnback to Frontline , Arun Kumar, Director General, DGCA, said that DGCA would be investigating the incident.

Sources told Frontline that the pilots had noticed an abnormality in the Airbus A 320-214’s multifunctional display. Sources also disclosed that the indicated abnormality was a “cargo door warning”. After the aircraft landed and upon examining, the warning proved to be a spurious one. Questions are being asked as to why the experienced crew were not able to decipher the spurious warning.

Said a captain with Air India: “In this instance the pilot in charge probably did not cross check with other parameters which would have revealed that there was actually no abnormality. If there was, as in this instance, an indication of the cargo door not being closed properly, and if the warning was genuine, the cabin would have started depressurising. If there was no depressurisation, it is a clear indication that the warning was spurious.”

Pilots attributed this ‘unnecessary’ air turnback to insufficient training, pointing out that the captain of the aircraft was one of those who had recently converted to the Airbus fleet from the airline’s Boeing 777 fleet.

As reported by Frontline , there have been several issues regarding Air India pilots converting from the Boeing fleet to the Airbus fleet. Aviators opined that these sorts of incidents were occurring on account of insufficient training.

According to sources at Air India, pilots who are converting from the Boeing to the Airbus fleet are being provided with only four hours of training during their ‘Fixed Base Simulator’ sessions, whereas their counterparts in other airlines are being provided with 36 hours of training.

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