An Air India Express flight was diverted to Muscat on Saturday night after a burning smell was reported in the cabin. Officials from India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), said the smell led to the diversion of the flight to Muscat. The Boeing 737-800 was operating under the call sign IX355.
Air India Express has not yet issued an official statement on the incident. Photo: Getty Images
The Air India Express flight was scheduled to fly from Calicut in southern India to Dubai International. The flight took off fifteen minutes late at 11:05 p.m. local time. However, a few hours later, just before 20:30 UTC, he changed course and began a final approach to landing in Muscat 10 minutes later.
Officials said the burning smell came from one of the forward galley vents, so the pilots decided to divert to Muscat. Air India Express is an Indian low cost airline based in Kochi, Kerala. It is 100% owned by the Indian airline Air India.
The parent company of the airline is the famous Air India. Photo: Getty Images
Takeover of Tata by Air India
In early 2020, the Indian government invited investors to buy the struggling airline. It was the second time the government had put the airline up for sale, but the first time it received no offers. But this time, the state said it would forfeit its holdings entirely.
In March 2021, Hardeep Singh Puri, the then Civil Aviation Minister, raised alarm when he said privatization was the only option for Air India or else it would face closure. At the time, the airline’s debt was in the region of ₹60,000 crore (US$8.28 billion) and was causing concern within the government.
Despite all the delays and potential bidders, the clear competitor has long been considered Tata. However, at one point rumors surfaced that the group was planning to buy Air India along with Singapore Airlines. The two companies have reportedly sought to join forces again through their existing business, Vistara.
However, in the end, Air India received only two offers on September 15. The two bidders were the Tata Group and the founder of the low-cost airline Spicjet, Ajay Singh. The airline eventually reverted to Tata, which valued the carrier at ₹18,000 crore ($2.39 billion). The company also accepted a debt of ₹15,300 crore (US$2.03 billion) for Air India and paid over ₹2,700 crore (US$358.5 million) in cash to the government.
Air India Express made headlines in 2021 when one of its Boeing 737-800s hit a power pole after landing at Vijayawada International Airport in Andhra Pradesh. The flight was arriving from Doha when the incident occurred.
After touching down, the plane was taxiing down the airport runway towards bay number 5. However, in doing so, it hit a utility pole. Although no injuries were reported on board the flight, Vijayawada International Airport Manager G Madhusudan Rao confirmed there was minor damage to the plane’s wing.
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