Indian regulators are investigating an incident involving a Boeing 737 MAX operated by SpiceJet in which the plane turned back to Mumbai shortly after departing for Kolkata and its pilots to shut down an engine due to a technical issue.
While the plane landed safely and nobody was injured, the incident is sensitive as it involved an aircraft model that only recently returned to the skies in India after a lengthy global grounding in the wake of two fatal crashes that were primarily blamed on faulty software. India can’t “prejudge” whether the incident merits any action on the fleet, and has asked Boeing and enginemaker CFM International Inc. for more information, Arun Kumar, director general of India’s aviation regulator, said in a text message.
The crew shut down the engine after an “oil filter bypass light got illuminated in cruise,” he said earlier Friday. Modern commercial aircraft are equipped to operate on a single engine.
SpiceJet said Flight 467 returned to Mumbai safely after experiencing a technical issue. It didn’t elaborate. The Times of India reported the incident earlier Friday.
Data from Flightradar24.com show the aircraft took off Thursday evening and started to turn back after about 15 minutes in the air.
The engine on the plane was manufactured by CFM, a venture between General Electric and France’s Safran. The incident doesn’t appear to be linked to automated software known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, which was established as the main reason for the 2018 and 2019 crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.
The MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after the second crash. The single-aisle jet has returned to service in most major markets bar China over the past 12 months following extensive fixes. India cleared it in August. SpiceJet has 13 MAX aircraft in its fleet and as many as 205 on order.