The Air India A321 plane, which was diverted to Raipur mid-air due to 'tail fire' incident last week, will require engine replacement even as aircraft accident investigation body AAIB has taken over the probe into the incident, a source said on Tuesday.
The source also said that an Airbus A319 plane is expected to be flown to Raipur on Friday, and one of its engines will be removed and fitted into the grounded plane.
Last Friday, a city-bound Air India flight from Bhubaneswar, carrying 189 persons on board, had to make an emergency landing at Chhattisgarhs Raipur airport due to tail fire in one of the engines of the aircraft.
"The Air India Airbus A321, VT-PPT, remains grounded at the Raipur airport since November 9. One of the engines of the plane has suffered damages and will have to be changed. Till then it will remain out of operations," said the source close to the development.
An A319 aircraft will be routed to Raipur on Friday for an engine change, adding, "We will remove one of the engines of this aircraft and install it on the grounded aircraft (VT-PPT) and make it fit for operations."
Air India spokesperson was not available for comments. He also said that the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) has taken over the probe into the incident.
Besides, a senior official from the airworthiness wing of the directorate general of civil aviation's Bhopal office has also inspected the aircraft, he added.
The source said that after obtaining necessary approvals from the authorities concerned, maintenance work to restore the aircraft with available staff at Raipur airport has already started.
"Also, the necessary equipment and tools have been dispatched by road from Delhi and Mumbai and they are expected to reach Raipur by Thursday," he said.
He said the engine for the A319 aircraft will be transported by road from one of the Air India bases and this process is expected to take about 15 days time.
"Till that time, the aircraft (A319) will remain grounded at Raipur airport," he said.
Air India spokesperson had in a statement last week said, "There was only tail fire, which is dangerous, reported. But there was no fire warning in the cockpit," Air India spokesperson had said.
"However, when cabin crew reported a fire on the engine, the captain discharged the fire extinguisher bottle. The tail fire could be due to the damage to the engine blades and incomplete combustion in the engine," he added.