On April 16th, a Boeing 737-800 operated by Spicejet was flying from Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) to Lucknow (India) when it suffered a cracked windshield. The pilots immediately initiated a rapid descent and diverted to the city of Zahedan (Iran) as an emergency precaution.
According to The Aviation Herald, the Spicejet Boeing 737-800 was performing flight SG9749 from Riyadh to Lucknow. The jet departed Riyadh at 18:51 local time. The aircraft was en route towards Lucknow, cruising at FL390 when the right-hand windshield cracked. In response, the crew initiated a rapid descent, sinking to FL130 within eight minutes, where it leveled off.
Due to the aircraft’s location, 160 NM south-southwest of Zahedan, the crew made the decision to divert to the Iranian city. At Zahedan Airport, the 737 performed a safe landing on runway 35 at approximately 17:00 local. Between performing the initial descent and landing safely, roughly one hour had passed.
Continuing onwards to India
Upon landing in Zahedan, the Spicejet 737 remained at the airport for approximately five hours before departing once again at 22:08 local time. Flying for just over two hours at FL270, the aircraft then landed at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport at 01:19 local. This airport was chosen instead of the original destination of Lucknow and has been at Delhi since it landed in the early hours of April 17th.
The Aviation Herald adds that the airline reported the outer pane of the first officer’s windshield was cracked. However, the inner pane remained intact, and the pressurization of the cabin remained normal. This would explain why the aircraft continued with its journey to India after landing in Iran. With damage limited to the outer pane, the crew could resume flying, but at a lower altitude as a precaution.
One commenter on the Aviation Herald post notes that if the crack is only on the outside pane, the flight can continue normally. However, if it cannot be determined if the inner or outer pane was cracked, the crew should assume it’s the inner and descend to the appropriate altitude and divert to the nearest suitable airport.
Why Delhi and not Lucknow?
Considering the crack was on the aircraft’s outer pane, it’s interesting that the airline made the decision to land at Delhi’s airport rather than the original destination of Lucknow. While Simple Flying has inquired with SpiceJet as to the reasons for this decision, we have yet to hear back from the airline.
One possibility is that Delhi would have MRO services far more capable of dealing with the cracked windshield compared to Lucknow. However, with Lucknow being over seven hours of driving from Delhi, or a one-hour flight, it leaves the passengers with more traveling should they wish to reach their original destination.
Why do you think the aircraft decided to finally land in Delhi rather than Lucknow? Let us know in the comments.