Sharjah-Kerala flight was diverted due to technical snag: official

Dubai - An Air India Express spokesperson confirms it was a planned diversion, not an emergency landing.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Fri 19 Feb 2021, 2:43 PM

Last updated: Fri 19 Feb 2021, 2:53 PM

An Air India Express flight from Sharjah to Kozhikode that diverted to Thiruvananthapuram International Airport on Friday afternoon was making a "precautionary" landing after it developed a minor technical snag, according to an airline spokesperson.

All 104 passengers — with four cabin crew and two pilots — landed safely at about 1pm, he said, adding that arrangements are underway to safely transport them to Kozhikode airport in another aircraft.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Air India Express chief corporate communications manager PG Prageesh, said: “The Air India IX 1346 that departed Sharjah airport at 7.07am on Friday morning was expected to land at Kozhikode airport at around 12.40pm.

"However, while air bound, the pilots noticed a minor technical snag in the aircraft and therefore decided not to land at Kozhikode airport as a precautionary measure, since the airport has a tabletop runway, which has a shorter airstrip compared to a regular runway.”

Citing another reason for landing at Thiruvananthapuram airport, Prageesh said: “Not only was the runway more safer and favourable for landing, but also we have a bigger unit of airline maintenance and technical experts there who could help in quickly resolving the issue.”

The representative reiterated that it was not an emergency landing, but a planned diversion that was taken collectively by both the pilots after discussing the matter with the airport authorities.

“It was not an emergency landing, rather it was a planned safety landing, as the pilots found a technical glitch," he said.

"The flight route is such that when coming from Sharjah towards Kerala, Kozhikode comes first. To reach Thiruvananthapuram, the flight has to fly further down. If it was an emergency landing, the plane would have looked for the nearest airport and not flown further towards Thiruvananthapuram," said Prageesh.

Passengers were informed that the flight was being diverted to Thiruvanathapuram due to a technical snag and there was no panic whatsoever,” he clarified.


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