Akasa Air has no intention to modify the standard mid-cabin door in its aircraft, according to a senior airline executive amid the recent Alaska Airlines incident where in-flight departure of a mid-cabin door plug had resulted in rapid decompression of a Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft.
The airline has 22 Boeing 737 Max planes in its fleet.
Following the incident on January 5, aviation regulator DGCA ordered Akasa Air, Air India Express and SpiceJet to carry out an inspection of the wing emergency exits of their Boeing 737-8 Max planes. The checks were completed satisfactorily and there were no adverse findings.
In an e-mail to staff on Monday evening, Akasa Air’s Chief of Flight Safety Gaurav Pathak said the airline does not have the intention “of modifying the highly standard mid-cabin door on any current or future aircraft that we are contemplating”.
Mid-cabin door refers to any emergency exit door on the aircraft that is not over the wings of the aircraft.
According to Pathak, the longer versions of narrow-body aircraft — A321s, Max 9 and the Max 8-200 — have such mid-cabin doors and all wide-body aircraft that of Airbus or Boeing manufacture have mid-cabin doors.
Some airlines choose to replace the doors with a ‘plug’ whereby the door looks like any other part of the aircraft with normal seats and windows. The specific modification can be done to the aircraft either during the production cycle or during the life of the aircraft, he said in the e-mail.
Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, DGCA, on January 6, directed all Indian operators with Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft to check the operation and proper closing of all over-wing emergency exits.
“These checks have been satisfactorily performed on the fleet of an operational fleet of Boeing B737-8 Max aircraft by Air India Express (4), Spicejet (8) and Akasa (20). Akasa Air fleet includes one B737-8200 aircraft which has a mid-cabin door on which the operational check has also been completed satisfactorily,” the regulator had said on January 8.
Currently, Indian carriers do not have Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft in their fleets.
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First Published: Jan 09 2024 | 9:57 PM IST