A Mumbai-bound Air India Express flight carrying 185 passengers on board was forced to return to the airport here Thursday due to a bird hit, an airline official said.
All the passengers escaped unhurt in the incident which took place around 1.45 pm and an alternative plane has been put in service to fly the stranded passengers to their destination, he said.
"Air India Express flight IX-435, operating on Kochi-Mumbai route experienced bird hit during take off. It departed at 1.25 pm from Kochi for Mumbai and landed back at 2 pm," the official said. All the 185 passengers on board are safe, he said.
A team of Air India engineers along with some equipment has flown from Mumbai to inspect the aircraft and make it airworthy, he said.
Another aircraft is scheduled to carry the passengers to Mumbai around 7 pm, he added.