A Mumbai-bound Air India flight from London with over 200 people on board made an emergency landing at Esenboğa International Airport in Ankara, according to ANI report. The Air India Flight 130 from London’s Heathrow airport made emergency landing at the international airport in Turkish capital leaving the passengers stranded.
The cause behind the emergency landing is yet to be ascertained.
This comes a day after, an Alliance Air flight carrying 63 passengers onboard, including Union Minister Mahesh Sharma, had returned to IGI Airport within half-an-hour of taking off, following a technical snag. The Gorakhpur-bound ATR 72 aircraft, however, landed back safely.
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Alliance Air is the regional arm of the national carrier Air India. Confirming that the aircraft had to return within half-an-hour of its take off from the Indira Gandhi International Airport here, Air India spokesperson said the matter is being probed. The Union Minister for Tourism and Culture was later flown to the destination by another flight, sources said. Sharma has also held the position of Minister of State for Civil Aviation in the past.
Meanwhile, Air India had inducted the first Airbus 320 neo aircraft, that burns less fuel, into its fleet and plans to lease 13 more such planes this year.
The A320 neo (new engine option) aircraft is configured with 162 seats, including 12 in the business class, and it joins the national carrier’s existing fleet of 66 A320 family planes.
After formally inducting the plane, which was given the traditional water canon salute at the international airport here, Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani said a total of 14 A320 neos would be inducted into the fleet this year.
The airline would also look at using these planes for international operations, he said.
Air India is the third one after IndiGo and GoAir to induct A320 neo aircraft. The national carrier is the first domestic operator of neo plane that is powered by CFM engine since the other two are using the aircraft having Pratt & Whitney engine.
With the latest induction, Air India Group’s fleet size now stands at 138 planes.
In a release, Airbus said the airline has become the latest A320 neo operator after taking delivery of the first of 14 aircraft leased from Kuwait-headquartered ALAFCO Aviation Lease And Finance Company.
“The A320 neo family incorporates latest technologies including new generation engines and wing tip devices, which together deliver more than 15 per cent in fuel savings from day one and 20 per cent by 2020,” it added.
Air India has plans to induct a total of 29 A320 neos into its fleet by March 2019.
While the airline has already tied up with three lessors — ALAFCO, GECAPS and CIT — for 22 planes, the process to select a bidder for the remaining seven such planes is underway.
The induction of the new fuel-efficient aircraft into its fleet is aimed at augmenting the capacity in the domestic market, which is growing at a rate of over 20 per cent.
As per original schedule, Air India was to receive three such planes this fiscal with two of them being in January but the delivery was delayed.