NEW DELHI: Air India on Friday grounded two pilots after one of its jets carrying 136 people hit an airport perimeter wall on takeoff and then flew for almost four hours with a damaged body, officials said.
The Boeing 737 suffered the damage as it left Trichy in southern India bound for Dubai.
Officials at the airport in Tamil Nadu state “observed that aircraft might have come in contact with the airport perimeter wall,” said an Air India statement.
“The matter was conveyed to the pilot in command. The pilot in command reported that the aircraft systems were operating normally. It was decided to divert the aircraft to Mumbai as a precautionary measure.”
The jet landed in Mumbai four hours later and pictures of the damaged aircraft went viral on social media soon after it landed safely. The 130 passengers were moved to a new flight to Dubai.
Air India said the two pilots were “derostered pending investigation” and the incident had been reported to India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation for an investigation. “The airline is fully cooperating with the investigation,” it added.
Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday said the government had recently ordered an independent “airline safety” review of Air India.
Air traffic in India is booming but Prabhu said on Twitter that “safety of the passengers is of paramount importance for us.” —AFP