Air India Express aircraft hits runway during take-off, makes emergency landing in Thiruvananthapuram

Air India Express IX 385, flying from Calicut to Dammam, was diverted to the State capital due to a suspected hydraulic failure; this was the second emergency landing in less than a week

February 24, 2023 01:09 pm | Updated 04:17 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Air India Express aircraft with 176 passengers and crew members makes an emergency Landing at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport on February 24, 2023.

Air India Express aircraft with 176 passengers and crew members makes an emergency Landing at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport on February 24, 2023. | Photo Credit: MAHINSHA S.

Around 176 passengers and six crew members on board the Calicut-Dammam Air India Express flight (IX 385) had some anxious moments after the tail of the aircraft reportedly hit the runway surface during take-off at Calicut International Airport at 9.44 a.m. on February 24.

The AIE flight was forced to make an ‘emergency landing’ at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport here at 12.15 p.m. on after its tail reportedly sustained damages during the incident. According to sources, after the plane’s tail “touched the runway surface”, the pilot requested a precautionary landing, as per the airline parlance, and diverted the flight to Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.

Initially, the flight was scheduled to make a landing here at 11.03 a.m. which was later rescheduled to 12.15 p.m. as the pilot began flying around the airport to exhaust the fuel in a bid to reduce the aircraft’s weight, before landing here in “emergency mode”.

“The aircraft, a Boeing 738, was able to touch down safely at the airport and all the passengers were shifted to the transit lounge. The emergency was also withdrawn shortly after the landing and no flight services were affected by the emergency landing,” said an airport spokesperson.

The airline company chose Thiruvananthapuram airport for the landing as it has a Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul (MRO) facility in Thiruvananthapuram. Further, the aircraft had the fuel to fly for around 6.30 hours and the body of the aircraft has structural weight limitations for landing with full fuel load.

“It is not known immediately what went wrong during the take-off of the aircraft. Attempting for take-off before attaining the take-off speed at times led to such incidents. Only a detailed inquiry can ascertain the actual cause of the accident,” said a source in the airport.

On February 19, a full emergency was declared at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport after an Air India Express flight from Dubai to Thiruvananthapuram reported a ‘nose wheel tyre decap.’ Later, the aircraft IX 540 with 156 people onboard including crew made a safe emergency landing at the airport early in the morning.

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