M A I N   N E W S

False alarm forces AI flight to land in Pak
Relief aircraft brings back 128 passengers, crew safely to Delhi
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, July 9
It’s a journey, which will be etched in their memories forever. As many as 128 passengers and crew of Air India’s Abu Dhabi-Delhi flight, which had to make an emergency landing in Pakistan after a technical snag, are back home safe. They were flown back in a special relief plane which took from Nawabshah airport in Pakistan and landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here at 5 pm. An hour later, the “snag-hit” airbus also returned to Delhi.

Scare in the air 

l Flight AI-940, which was on its way from Abu Dhabi to Delhi, had to land at Nawabshah airport in the Sindh province after pilots noticed a hydraulic failure warning. The plane was carrying 128 passengers and crew members

l The pilots saw a warning light in the cockpit and sought permission to land which was granted by the Pakistani authorities

l A special plane was sent to bring back the stranded passengers safely

Flight AI-940, which departed from Abu Dhabi at 0015 hours on Monday after originating from Bahrain, had to land at Nawabshah airport in the Sindh province after pilots noticed a hydraulic failure warning.

"The aircraft was flying over Pakistani air space when a pilot saw a warning light in the cockpit and sought permission to land at the nearest airport which was Nawabshah," said an Air India spokesperson.

Pakistan High Commission spokesman Manzoor Ali Memon said Pakistan allowed the Indian aircraft to land at Nawabshah airport. “Passengers were given visas on arrival at the airport. 

They were extended hospitality and support by the Pakistan Government,” he said. MEA Special Secretary Ashok Tomar, who received the passengers in Delhi, praised the Pakistani authorities for their help. “We are happy this situation has ended now and passengers are back. They were treated well by the Pakistan authorities.”

Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Pervez George said the stranded passengers were offered lounge facilities but the pilot declined and did not allow the passengers to come out of the plane, apparently over security concerns.

As per preliminary reports of the engineers flown to Pakistan to check the stranded aircraft, the instrument panel emitted a “false alarm” (pertaining to hydraulic failure) on the computer system.”The cockpit panel emitted false alarm, causing red lights on the control panel to blip. There was nothing wrong with the hydraulics system,” said engineers.

The Civil Aviation Ministry has forwarded an incident report to the PMO. This may be followed by a detailed analysis of by the airline’s permanent investigation board. Since the incident was an “uncommon” occurrence, sources said the civil aviation regulator, DGCA, may even constitute a probe committee.

Backing pilots, experts said they made a right decision. “All warnings lights on the instrument control panel have to be taken seriously. Even the smallest technical glitch in the computer system needs to be rectified before the aircraft takes off again. For each warning light on the instrument panel, there are specified actions in the flight manual-to continue to destination, divert to the most appropriate airfield or land as soon as possible,” said experts.

(With inputs from Afzal Khan in Islamabad) 





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