New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is investigating a “severe hard landing” involving an Air India Airbus A320neo (VT-CIQ) during its Cochin to Dubai flight on December 20, an official said on Monday.
Fortunately, the 5.5-year-old aircraft, which made the heavy landing with a recorded force of 3.5 G, did not suffer any apparent structural damage.
The incident occurred as the flight, operating under the designation AI 933, touched down in Dubai.
The Airbus A320neo, a relatively young aircraft, managed to come to a stop safely, preventing any injuries to the passengers and crew on board.
Flight tracking websites revealed that the aircraft was scheduled for its next flight to Mumbai on December 27 but has not been airborne since.
The reasons for the grounded status were not immediately clear, as the investigation into the incident began.
According to officials, pending the outcome of the investigation, the pilot responsible for the hard landing has been removed from flying duties.
Air India has taken this precautionary step as part of standard procedure to ensure a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Following the incident, the aircraft remained grounded in Dubai for an entire week. During this period, it underwent extensive checks and assessments to determine the extent of any potential damage. The safety checks were conducted in accordance with established protocols to ensure that the aircraft met all safety standards before being allowed to return to service.
Ultimately, after the week-long examination, the Airbus A320neo was cleared for flight and ferried back to Air India’s engineering base in Mumbai. Flight tracking data indicated that the aircraft operated the Mumbai flight on December 27 with a cruising altitude below 10,000 feet, suggesting an unpressurised ferry.
“An investigation has already been initiated, as per DGCA norms. The pilot was appropriately trained and licensed to fly the aircraft. He has been off-rostered till the process of inquiry is on as per norms,” an Air India spokesperson said.