The crew of an Air India Express A320 that experienced an engine fire received no cockpit indications of the blaze.

As the aircraft, VT-ATF, climbed out of Bengaluru on the evening of 18 May operating flight IX1132 bound for Cochin, the crew heard a “bang” from the No.2 CFM International CFM56 engine, according to a preliminary report by India’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).

Air India Express Engine Fire

Source: Indian Social Media

A screen grab taken from a passenger video shows the blaze in the starboard engine

While the crew also saw “momentary” faults in the engine’s N1 speed and hydraulic system, they only learned of the fire when the cabin crew notified them over the aircraft intercom.

The crew then called Mayday and landed at Bengaluru, where fire services extinguished the blaze.

After the fire was put out, the 179 passengers and six crew were evacuated via four slides, with 10 suffering minor injuries.

Passenger videos posted on social media show fire jetting from the rear of the engine, with the crew yelling to passengers to remain seated. 

The report notes that after the landing, cockpit instruments indicated that the No.1 engine held 16.6 litres (4.4USgal) of oil, and the No.2 engine 7.1 litres.

In addition to downloading data from the flight-data and cockpit-voice recorders, the AAIB has interviewed the aircraft’s crew and maintainers. French officials are assisting with the probe and the engine has been sent to the manufacturer for analysis.

Cirium fleets data indicates that VT-ATF was originally delivered to the former AirAsia India in 2013. The aircraft was transferred to Air India Express in March 2024 with the merger of the two carriers.