Indian flight forced to land in Pakistan in second such incident in two weeks

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An Indian flight travelling from Dubai was forced to land in Pakistan “as a precaution” after a technical snag was reported by the pilot.

The IndiGo flight took off from the southern Indian city of Hyderabad and was flying to Sharjah, when it was forced to divert to Pakistan’s Karachi airport on Sunday morning due to a system fault in one of the plane’s engines.

“IndiGo flight 6E-1406, operating from Sharjah to Hyderabad was diverted to Karachi. The pilot observed a technical defect. Necessary procedures were followed and as a precaution the aircraft was diverted to Karachi,” the airline said in a statement.

All the passengers were safe and an additional flight was sent to Karachi to fly them to Hyderabad, it added.

This is the second time an Indian flight had to make an unscheduled landing in Pakistan in two weeks and comes after another IndiGo flight was forced to make an emergency landing.

On Thursday, a domestic IndiGo flight was diverted to Rajasthan state’s Jaipur city as vibrations were observed in the engines of the aircraft, India’s civil aviation authorities said. “There was a caution message indicated to the pilot enroute,” the airline said.

IndiGo’s technicians had written to aircraft manufacturer Airbus just two days before the Thursday incident, accusing the airline of not following standard maintenance procedures, putting passenger safety at risk.

“I request you to kindly intervene in this matter and ask the operators to share maintenance data of the past seven days,” said the All-India Aircraft Technicians in a letter on 12 July.

The allegations were promptly dismissed by the airline which claimed to follow “the highest standards of aircraft maintenance” and claimed it “adheres to all regulatory norms”.

The carrier also reportedly took action against technicians who took a five-day mass sick leave to protest inadequate pay.

A string of dangerous technical snags have been reported in aircraft belonging to other Indian airlines as well.

A flight operated by SpiceJet, another budget carrier, made an unscheduled landing in Karachi earlier this month. The Dubai-bound flight landed in Pakistan due to the malfunctioning of the fuel indicator light in the cockpit.

All 138 passengers onboard the plane had to wait hours for Pakistan’s government to give them clearance to board a replacement flight.

The country’s aviation regulator had recently taken the airline to task by handing it a showcause notice, following at least eight incidents of technical malfunctions in its aircraft since mid June.

A SpiceJet flight’s outer windshield started showing cracks at an altitude of 23,000ft just earlier this month, forcing it to make a priority landing in Mumbai.

In May, a video emerged showing extreme mid-air turbulence in a SpiceJet flight and toppled luggage from overhead bins, leading to at least 15 people sustaining injuries and causing anxiety among passengers.

In another incident this Sunday, a Middle East-bound flight from India was diverted due to a burning smell.

The Air India Express aircraft was flying from India’s Calicut city to Dubai but had to be diverted to Muscat after crew detected a burning smell from one of the vents in the plane’s forward galley.

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