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Air India Pilots Suspended after Flying Damaged Plane Loaded with Passengers



NEW DELHI – Air India has grounded two pilots after one of its jets carrying 136 people hit an airport perimeter wall on takeoff and then flew for almost four hours with a damaged body.

The Boeing 737 suffered damage to it’s undercarriage as it left Trichy in southern India bound for Dubai, authorities said on Friday.

Officials at the airport in Tamil Nadu state “observed that aircraft might have come in contact with the airport perimeter wall”, said an Air India statement.

A 737 plane traveling from the south Indian city of Trichy to Dubai sustained damage after hitting the airport wall during take off.

“The matter was conveyed to the pilot in command. The pilot in command reported that the aircraft systems were operating normally. It was decided to divert the aircraft to Mumbai as a precautionary measure.”

The jet landed in Mumbai four hours later and pictures of the damaged aircraft went viral on social media soon after it landed safely. The 130 passengers were moved to a new flight to Dubai.

Air India said the two pilots were “suspended pending investigation” and the incident had been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for an investigation. “The airline is fully cooperating with the investigation,” it added.

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday said the government had recently ordered an independent “airline safety” review of Air India.

Air traffic in India is booming but Prabhu said that “safety of the passengers is of paramount importance for us.”

Source: Agence France-Presse, BBC


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