KARACHI: A London-bound PIA aircraft with at least 128 passengers on board had to make an emergency landing at Moscow airport on Sunday after one of its engines ceased to function, according to information reaching here.
Sources in the PIA said another aircraft with over 200 passengers on board had been diverted to the Russian capital to take the passengers stranded there to Manchester. From there, they would be transported to London, probably by road because of night ban on flights over the British capital.
Because of the mishap, the sources said, the London-bound passengers would be reaching their destination three hours behind schedule, and probably in buses.
They said that PIA’s flight PK 785 had left Islamabad for London at around 10am. While the aircraft had covered about half the distance, the compressor of one of its two engines developed a fault and the engine ceased to function. The pilot decided to divert the flight to Moscow and the plane landed safely at the Sheremetyevo international airport at about 3.30pm.
The Boeing 777 will be inspected on Monday and a decision would be taken about the repair work needed.
The sources said the pilot of flight PK 701, which had left Islamabad at about 2pm, was asked by the PIA management to take his aircraft to Moscow to take the passengers stranded there to his destination, Manchester.
The flight would stay in the Russian capital for a couple of hours before flying over to Manchester by the evening (local time).
When contacted, PIA spokesman Mashhood Tajwar said the engine of the ill-fated aircraft developed a fault while it was flying over Eastern Europe/Russia. Capt Ijaz Durrani decided to make a ‘technical’ landing at the nearest airport, in Moscow.
All the passengers were safe, he added.
He said the engine could not be checked immediately because the Moscow airport authorities were unable to provide such services on Sundays.
Since the PIA did not operate flights to Moscow, he said, it had no arrangements for technical services there. Engineers would be sent from Pakistan to examine the engine.
Mr Tajwar confirmed that another PIA aircraft, which had left Islamabad in the afternoon, had been directed to go to Moscow to take the stranded passengers to Manchester. He said the aircraft was expected to land at Manchester airport by 8pm (local time).
If the flight reached Manchester after sunset, the London-bound passengers would be taken to the British capital by road. The drive would take a few hours, the spokesman added.