Wednesday, September 09, 2015

With over two-decade old aircraft, Air India can't avoid better fleet planning

New Delhi: Air India has seven Airbus 320 aircraft in its fleet which are more than 20 years old. This means every third Airbus 320 aircraft in Air India's fleet of 21 Airbus 320s is an old war horse. No one should be surprised by this surprising statistics given the state of affairs at India's national carrier. Last year, Air India's board of directors had approved of a plan to take eight new Airbus 320 aircraft on lease to ease out these old war horses but only three have been delivered till now.
The condition of Air India's fleet is in focus now, after an incident yesterday night where one of the old aircraft developed hydraulic failure while approaching Delhi on a Varanasi-Delhi flight with 146 passengers on board. The pilot was forced to seek emergency landing from the ATC at Delhi. Later, there were reports of some sparks from the rear of the aircraft, after landing, which forced the captain to order evacuation using chutes - and lead to some passengers sustaining minor injuries.
A source said the pilots of this aircraft realised that their controls were not functioning properly "15-20 minutes" before the scheduled landing at Delhi and requested the ATC for emergency landing. They said due to hydraulic failure, the pilots resorted to hard braking while landing which lead to sparks at the rear.
08/09/15 Sindhu Bhattacharya/First Post
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