An IndiGo aircraft was taken off the main runway in Udaipur on Wednesday minutes before take-off after smoke was detected around its tail section. All passengers on the Bengaluru-bound flight were reported to be safe.
"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," authorities said in an official statement quoted by news agency ANI. "During the inspection, there were no unusual observations, so it was a false alarm. The aircraft was released for further flight," they said.
The IndiGo 6E 979, an Airbus A320neo, was delayed by an hour and a half. Last week, two A320neo aircraft -- both operated by IndiGo -- were grounded after mid-air engine vibrations forced them to turn back. The no-frills airline is battling issues with the Pratt and Whitney (P&W) engines.
US aviation watchdog Federal Aviation Administration or FAA last month told operators of the A320neo across the globe to urgently modify a critical component of the aircraft's low-pressure turbine. Referring to a note by the FAA, its Indian counterpart the Directorate General of Civil Aviation or DGCA said IndiGo must urgently modify the critical third stage of the low pressure turbine on all the engines of A320neos that it operates.
Concerned about regular failures of Pratt & Whitney Series 1100 engines operated on the twin-jets, the DGCA has also said "efforts undertaken by the operator to replace all unmodified engines on their NEO fleet by 31/1/2020, do not instil enough confidence." The DGCA warned that it may be forced to ground all A320neo aircraft operating with unmodified engines.
IndiGo, India's largest carrier, operates approximately 100 Airbus A320neo aircraft, many of which continue to fly with at least one un-modified engine.