Twenty-seven minutes into the flight, an Air India A320 flight headed for Bengaluru had to return to the Mumbai airport, after one of its engines conked out mid-air on Thursday.
The Airbus A320neo aircraft has two engines and can fly without hiccups with just one.
In keeping with the standard operating instructions, the pilots opted for an emergency landing and the air traffic control – in keeping with the protocol -- alerted ambulances and fire services.
The DGCA is now conducting an exhaustive probe and pouring over photographs of the engine that show serious damage, with quite a few compressor blades sheared off, sources told NDTV. The aircraft has been grounded, the source added.
The pilots had received a warning about high exhaust gas temperatures on one of the engines just minutes after the aircraft's departure from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 9.43 AM. With the engine shutting down, the pilot returned to Mumbai airport at 10.10 AM.
The passengers were later flown to Bengaluru after a change of aircraft.
The A320 neo planes of Air India have CFM's Leap engines and unlike IndiGo and GoAir's Pratt and Whitney A320neo engines, these have not reported technical problems in the past, an Air India official told the TV channel. However, since their induction in 2016, the Pratt and Whitney engines have faced serious issues such as combustion chamber distress, engine vibration and low-pressure turbine, which have led to many in-flight engine shutdown incidents, the NDTV report adds.
When asked about the incident, Air India spokesperson said: "Air India accords top priority to safety and our crew is well adept at handling these situations. Our Engineering and Maintenance teams had immediately started looking into the issue."
According to officials at Air India, which is now run by the Tata Group, the airline has 27 Airbus A320neo planes.