Air Costa, which used to operate 32 daily flights to 9 destinations, will be operating 18 flights to 8 destinations starting today, 16th November, till 26th November, as the airline’s fleet temporarily reduces to just 2 aircraft – one 67 seat Embraer E170 and one 112 seat Embraer E190. No sale of flights on one of the patterns (MAA-HYD-VTZ-BLR-VTZ-HYD-MAA-JAI-MAA) was noticed on the airline’s website. This leads to VTZ not being temporarily served by Air Costa.
VT-LSR, one of the two Embraer E170s, has been pulled out of operations due to the planned return of the aircraft to its lessor. VT-LBR, one of the two Embraer E190s, operated a special Chennai-Bengaluru flight LB709 (the first 7xx flight number for the airline), which is a ferry flight turned commercial flight, before heading off for scheduled maintenance to Jordan via Muscat. This leaves only two airplanes – VT-LNR (E170) and VT-LVR (E190) in the active fleet in the short term.
In contrast to Air Costa cancelling flights, AirAsia India, which presently has one of its Airbus A320 airplanes (VT-BLR) at Hyderabad for scheduled maintenance (Since 1st November), has not allowed operations to be impacted. The airline, which recently received its 6th aircraft (VT-APJ), continues to fly 5 patterns with 5 active aircraft. VT-BLR is expected to return from maintenance today to allow VT-APJ to fly to Delhi to operate additional frequencies on existing routes, from tomorrow. (Edit: VT-BLR flew to Delhi late this morning, and will take on Delhi flights from tomorrow).
Improper aircraft modifications have proven to be fatal, in the past, taking the lives, innocent or not, of the men and women on board. Aircraft modifications are the responsibility of maintenance personnel, who ensure that the modification is done right, and checked before releasing the aircraft.
On December 3rd, 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a $325,000 penalty against Dallas-based Southwest Airlines for allegedly operating an aircraft that had been improperly modified, violating Federal Aviation Regulations. The aircraft is a Boeing 717, operating for US based low cost carrier AirTran Airways, which is in the process of merging with Southwest.
On Aug. 29, 2011, maintenance personnel improperly installed a switch that enables flight crews to test the windshield heating system on a Boeing 717. The Boeing 717, unlike most other Western airplanes in operation, has 7 cockpit glass panels (excluding the eyebrows). Of these, three (left, center and right) are the front facing windshields, and the rest windows.
Proper installation of the switch would have allowed personnel to isolate the windshield anti-ice system that was causing a warning that the windshield heater was failing. Instead, the center and left windshield warning systems were reversed. The right windshield warning system continued to operate properly. The aircraft was operated on 1,140 passenger flights before the problem was corrected.
Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King said that the installation error didn’t compromise safety as it was an extra system. The primary system for alerting crews to a potential window-heater malfunction was still working.
On the 20th of March, 2001, a Lufthansa Airbus A320 almost crashed when the captain’s sidestick was cross-wired in error by maintenance personnel. Although the captain commanded a right roll input, the airplane rolled left. Following the brief confusion, when the left wing-tip was around 2ft from the ground, the first officer, whose controls operated normally, took over by overriding the captain’s side stick input.