Thursday, December 09, 2021

Mid-air emergency, Kolkata-bound SpiceJet Boeing 737MAX diverts to Mumbai

Mumbai: A Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operating a SpiceJet flight from Mumbai to Kolkata on Thursday had a mid-air emergency about fifteen minutes after departure. The pilots had to shut down an engine and divert the flight to Mumbai where the aircraft landed safely, said a source. The incident is most likely the first-ever mid-air emergency involving a SpiceJet Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after the fleet was returned to service on November 23.

The three-year-old aircraft (VT MXE), which had departed Mumbai at 6.55 pm was eastward bound and had climbed to about 33,000 feet when a problem with hydraulics and `oil filter bypass’ forced the pilots to divert, said the source. The aircraft landed in Mumbai around 7.50 pm.

In its previous avatar, the Boeing 737 MAX had suffered recurring problems which had the aircraft system overriding the pilot’s inputs to repeatedly push the plane’s nose down post-take-off. The repeated downward pitching had led to two fatal accidents, one in Indonesia and the other in Ethiopia, and killed a total of 346 people. Then from March 2019, the aircraft was grounded worldwide till November 2020 when the US cleared it for resumption of flights.

But in India, SpiceJet the sole MAX operator brought it back to life again only last month. A SpiceJet spokesperson said: “SG- 467 operating Mumbai-Kolkata returned back to Mumbai after take-off due to a technical issue. The aircraft landed safely in Mumbai.”

09/12/21 Times of India

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