Air India's Thiruvananthapuram-Chennai-Bangalore flight from Thiruvananthapuram international airport on Monday had to be grounded following a bird-hit while the A-319 aircraft was turning around the taxiway in the airport for the take-off to Chennai.

The commander of the AI 507 flight that was carrying the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and BJP leader Arun Jaitley, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat and 111 other passengers immediately stopped the aircraft and alerted the Air Traffic Control. The incident took place around 10 a.m. Aircraft maintenance engineers who carried out a detailed inspection of the engine following the suspicion of a bird-hit found feathers in the engine and damage to the blades of the engine.

As the authorities did not want to take any chance and wanted to carry out a trial, the flight was cancelled. Mr. Jaitley and Mr. Karat, who were in the city for campaigning on Sunday, were accommodated in the flight of a private airline that proceeded to Chennai later.

Incidentally, the Airport Director, G. Chandramouli was also in the AI flight to Chennai. He also left for Chennai along with the VVIP's.

Efforts are on to rectify the engine and to operate the flight later in the evening. airline source said.

Keywords: Air Indiabird-hit