A Delhi-bound Akasa Air 737 MAX aircraft suffered a bird strike during its initial climb. While the flight landed safely with no reported injuries to passengers, the aircraft was grounded for further inspection. The incident is the latest in a series of others, highlighting the growing concern about bird strikes in India.
Akasa plane hit by a bird
On October 27th, an Akasa Air aircraft performing a flight from Ahmedabad to Delhi was hit by a bird as it climbed out of the airport. The Boeing 737 MAX, however, continued its journey toward Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) and performed a successful landing.
Once on the ground, the extent of the damage to the airframe was observed, and the aircraft was grounded for further inspection and repairs. India’s aviation regulator, the DGCA, released a statement saying,
“Today, Akasa B-737-8(Max) aircraft VT-YAF operating flight QP-1333 (Ahmedabad-Delhi) experienced a bird strike during the climb out passing 1900ft. Post landing at Delhi, Radome damage was observed. Aircraft declared AOG (Aircraft on ground) at Delhi.”
An Akasa spokesperson also confirmed that the aircraft landed safely, all passengers were deboarded, and the plane positioned for a detailed inspection.
Second such incident in a month
This is the second such incident involving an Akasa Air plane this month. On October 15th, another one of the airline’s MAX planes was hit by a bird as it climbed out of Mumbai airport (BOM) for its flight to Bengaluru (BLR).
A burning smell filled the cabin, and the plane returned to Mumbai. It was later confirmed that bird remains were found on engine number 1. The DGCA said that the smell increased as the thrust increased, but no other abnormality was found in engine parameters.
Photo: Akasa Air
The recent incidents are similar to the one involving a SpiceJet plane in June when the Boeing 737 also hit a bird on its way out of Patna (PAT) airport. The engine of the plane caught fire, and the pilot immediately returned to the airport and performed a tricky but successful overweight landing on a short runway.
On the rise
According to the data from the DGCA, bird strike incidents in the country have increased by 49.3% from January to July this year compared to the same period in 2021. And from the looks of it, they are likely to increase further as airlines ramp up operations.
To curb such incidents, the regulator issued guidelines in August, such as raising awareness about proper waste management to keep birds and animals away from the airport areas. The chief secretaries of the state governments have also been asked to comply with the rules surrounding bird and animal activity around the airport.
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