United Airlines' plane grounded at Mumbai airport

PTI
Published Feb 22, 2014, 2:48 am IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 9:26 am IST
Engineers find that engine cover of Boeing 777 aircraft of United Airlines badly damaged.
Picture for representational purpose only.
 Picture for representational purpose only.

Mumbai: A Boeing 777 aircraft of American carrier United Airlines (UA) was grounded at the airport here Thursday night after engineers found that its right engine cover was badly damaged, the first US plane acted against after India's aviation safety mechanism was downgraded last month.

The carrier has despatched a team of engineers from the US to fix the problem, officials said. The aircraft, operating flight UA-48 from Newark to Mumbai, arrived around 2200 hours yesterday and Indian engineers found that there was "major damage" to the cowl of the right-side engine.

 

Cowl is the cover of an aircraft engine. DGCA officials, who inspected the grounded plane, termed the damage as "major", the officials said, adding it was being suspected that the damage may have been caused during take-off.

The grounding of the aircraft comes weeks after US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration downgraded the safety ranking of its Indian counterpart DGCA. The FAA move essentially means the domestic aviation regulator does not meet global safety standards laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in areas such as adequate manpower for inspections and safety checks of aircraft.

 

The downgrade has placed India in Category-II in terms of safety related aspects of its civil aviation operations. Besides it also implies the domestic carriers can't expand operations further in the United States. DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar had recently formed two teams to mount safety inspections on foreign aircraft landing in India.

The damage to the Boeing 777 was found after the passengers had disembarked and the plane was being readied for the return flight, they said. "We will allow the aircraft to fly only when it is airworthy," the officials said.

 

A United Airlines team is arriving with men and material to repair the engine, they said, adding, "we will again inspect the plane once the repairing is done." Days after the FAA move, United Airlines and American Airlines had suspended their code sharing agreements with Indian private carrier Jet Airways. National carrier Air India and Jet are the only two domestic airlines which fly to US.

In a statement issued late in the evening, United Airlines said a routine inspection of the aircraft on arrival at Mumbai revealed the fan cowling on the passenger jet's No.2 (right) engine was damaged, though it was intact.

 

"United Airlines flight UA-49 from Mumbai to New York/Newark on February 20, a Boeing 777 aircraft, was cancelled following a technical issue," the airline said. United Airlines' customer service team at Mumbai provided assistance to passengers and made arrangements for them to complete their journey, it said. "We provided our customers with overnight hotel accommodation if required. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused," the statement added. 

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