The Udaipur Maharana Pratap Airport (UDR) in Rajasthan witnessed momentary panic on Wednesday when a Bengaluru-bound Indigo flight reportedly started emitting smoke just before take-off. The emergency personnel were immediately alerted.
All passengers and crew on board are safe. After they were evacuated, the A320neo aircraft was shifted from the main runway for inspection.
The Indigo flight (6E 979) was supposed to take off at 1.20 pm and reach Bengaluru at 3:45 pm. The flight finally took off at 3.10 pm after the inspection and touched down at 5:20 pm.
A statement from Indigo confirmed the developments and added that standard procedures were followed once the incident came to light. “The ATC (Air Traffic Control) suspected smoke from the auxiliary power unit in the aircraft tail section. Following the laid standard operating procedures, the pilot returned the aircraft to the bay for further inspection. During the inspection, there were no unusual observations, so it was a false alarm. The aircraft was released for further flight,” it read.
This comes after an incident in August, when smoke was detected from an Indigo aircraft.
At the time, the flight had to make an emergency landing at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad after smoke was noticed in the cockpit. A preliminary investigation revealed that an exhaust fan in the plane's air conditioning system may have malfunctioned.
The airlines said that the A320neo aircraft, which was travelling from New Delhi to Hyderabad, was grounded temporarily as a probe was ongoing to ascertain the reason for the mishap.
Air traffic control was immediately alerted and a fire engine, medical personnel and other experts were on standby as the aircraft began its descent. However, there was no untoward incident during the landing and the passengers were evacuated safely. The airline's engineering staff immediately rushed in to check the cockpit.
Earlier in April, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) carried out a safety audit of Indigo. In July, the regulatory body for civil aviation found multiple safety lapses and served four show-cause notices to senior officials of Indigo’s Flight Operations and Safety Department.