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Mid-air scare on IndiGo A320neo… 'loud bang, sparks, smoke, heavy vibration, engine stalled'

Mumbai: An IndiGo Airbus A320neo plane suffered a mid-air engine failure with a "loud bang" on Thursday and the civil aviation ministry has taken serious note of the incident, sources said. The latest incident involving another Pratt & Whitney engine happened when the aircraft was flying to Kolkata from Chennai on January 3. The plane returned mid-way to Chennai and has been grounded there since then due to damaged engine blades, they said.

While sources said that the engine of the aircraft stalled mid-air with a "loud bang", an IndiGo spokesperson said in a statement that its crew took note of a "technical caution" and decided to return the flight to Chennai. "The ministry has taken serious note (of the incident) and we will review it on Tuesday," said Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey.

He was asked whether the ministry would direct the aircraft maker Airbus and US-based engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney to stop deliveries unless all issues are fixed. "One of the P&W engines of IndiGo neo aircraft operating on the Chennai-Kolkata route on January 3 stalled mid-air followed by a loud bang and sparks from it and smoke, leading to heavy vibration," a source said.

The incident forced the A320neo aircraft to return to Chennai under emergency conditions, he added. The number of people on board the flight could not be ascertained. "This was for the first time that that an A320neo faced multiple problems — smoke, heavy vibration, loud bang and engine stalled — in one single flight," the source added.

IndiGo, which is facing such issues in the A320neo planes powered by P&W engines since their induction in the fleet in 2016 and has received compensation from both Airbus and the engine maker for each grounding, said the aircraft returned to Chennai due to "technical caution" noted by the crew.

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