3 February 2023 At 02:11 a.m., an Air India Express plane took off from Abu Dhabi for the southern Indian city of Kozhikode, but was forced to turn back shortly after takeoff due to an engine fire. Boeing 737–800 operated flight IX 348.
India's aviation regulator DGCA released a statement saying, in part: “Today, Air India Express B737-800 VT-AYC, operating Flight IX 348 on the Abu Dhabi-Calicut (Kozhikode) route, was forced to return due to engine No. 1 caught fire at an altitude of 300 meters during climb.
According to the airline, the plane made a safe landing, none of the 184 passengers was injured. Boeing 737–800 was received by Air India Express in 2009. As of the end of 2022, the 13-year-old aircraft has flown nearly 47,000 hours over 15,322 flight cycles.
This is not the first engine fire in the new year.
On January 10, a Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 aborted takeoff after flames were seen on the aircraft's right side, followed by smoke engulfing the wing.
The flight took off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County and was bound for International Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. One of the passengers took a video during takeoff, which shows columns of thick black smoke rising from under the wing of the aircraft.
There were 172 passengers on board and fortunately there were no reports of casualties. The aircraft was eventually towed back to the boarding bridge and there were no reports of any disruption to the airport.
A few weeks earlier, in November 2022, an Aerostan Boeing 747–200 flying KW- 4053 between Macau (China) and Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), suddenly stopped climbing about 3,000 meters after an engine failure.
Pratt & Whitney JT9D, located on the port side, began to make crackling and flashes of flame. The crew turned off the engine and returned to Macau, landing safely 40 minutes after takeoff.
This is the second incident in a week with an Air India Express aircraft making an emergency landing. An emergency was declared at Cochin Airport on January 30 when an AI Express Boeing 737 flying from Sharjah reported an alleged hydraulic failure.
The airport reported that “the emergency was declared at 20:04, and the plane landed safely at 20:36. There were 193 passengers and six crew members on board the plane, and there were no reports of casualties.