Two emergency landings in seven hours keep Kolkata airport staff alert

CALCUTE: A failure of the Airbus A 320 neo engine forced a flight that had just left Kolkata airport with 174 passengers to return and make a full emergency landing on an engine late Wednesday. The airport had to prepare for another full emergency on Thursday morning after a Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 plane that had just taken off with 76 passengers found a problem with the landing gear.

The twin emergencies in a period of six and a half hours tested the preparation of the airport in terms of the requirements with the medical and fire department, as well as with the ground support personnel of the airport and working together. Fortunately, both planes made a safe landing, to the relief of passengers on board, as well as airlines and airport officials on the ground.

The first emergency occurred shortly after the IndiGo Kolkata-Pune flight took off at 9.42 p.m. While the captain applied the maximum accelerator to make a rapid ascent, an engine did not respond. The captain saw that one of the two engines went out on the engine indicators. The latter, present in the cockpit instrument panel, shows the operation of the engines.

Upon realizing the need to return, the captain stabilized the plane to run on a single engine and contacted the ATC, informing the controller of the problem and requesting a full emergency landing. Modern airplanes can run on a single engine, but pilots must exercise caution and follow the SOP that clearly tells the captain to go to the nearest airport in case of engine failure, a veteran pilot explained. The SOS call to ATC triggered an immediate response. The fire tenders were put in position just like the medical units, to attend a possible fire outbreak. On the plane, when the plane bent to make the turn, the pilot announced that the flight was heading back to Kolkata due to a technical problem. There were murmurs of concern among the passengers, but few realized that one of the engines had shut down.

When the flight approached Kolkata, the ATC cleared the way, waiting for departure and arrival flights. Indi-Go's flight finally landed at 9.58 p.m. and went to the parking lot with the firemen and the ambulance in tow.

This is not the first instance of engine problems in A320neo. The civil aviation regulator, DGCA, ordered Monday to modify its 16 Airbus A320neo aircraft equipped with Pratt&Whitney engines, linked to flight stops, within 15 days to avoid grounding. On Tuesday, the DGCA requested to stop flying the 13 A320neo aircraft powered by the P&W 1100 series engines in 15 days.

The other emergency occurred shortly after the Spice-Jet flight to Bagdogra took off at 6.11 in the morning. After takeoff, the captain tried to retract the landing gear but got stuck. After attempts to disconnect him failed, the captain radioed the ATC and informed the controller, asking permission to return. Once again, complete emergency procedures were implemented. The plane made a U-turn and headed back to Kolkata and landed at 6.36 am without further problems.