A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight heading to Saudi Arabia from Sialkot on Wednesday made an emergency landing in Lahore after smoke was detected by the plane's computer systems, officials said.
PIA flight PK-755, which departed Sialkot for Riyadh at 6am, made an emergency landing at Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport after smoke was detected in the cargo compartment of the Airbus A-320 jet, airport sources said.
All the passengers onboard were safely evacuated after the landing, and no injuries were reported.
PIA spokesman Mashood Tajwar, however, rejected reports that the plane made an emergency landing or that it had caught fire mid-air.
Tajwar while talking to Dawn.com said the pilot had decided to make a "technical landing" after receiving a smoke warning signal soon after take off.
"Keeping in mind the safety precautions, the pilot landed the aircraft in Lahore," he said, adding that the plane had landed normally.
The aircraft is undergoing a full check-up and the flight will leave for Riyadh after getting clearance from the engineering department, he said.
The PIA spokesman said the pilot had made the landing as a precautionary measure and that no actual smoke was detected during the flight. The flight is expected to leave for Riyadh by 11:30am.
PIA's business plan
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan had revealed on Tuesday that a business plan aimed at reviving the lost glory of the national flag carrier was ready for presentation to the federal cabinet next week, Dawn reported.
Talking to reporters after travelling in the first refurbished Boeing 777 aircraft from Karachi to Islamabad, he said there was a lot of potential in the aviation industry and the business plan, once approved, would benefit the PIA and positive changes would be witnessed within the next two to three years.
“The PIA will increase its fleet strength to 50 aircraft by 2019, which is part of the business plan,” he said, adding that efforts were under way to arrest the trend of losses suffered by the airline.
He said the PIA had started refurbishing and changing interior of its entire fleet and its first Boeing 777 aircraft, which had been refurbished at the PIA engineering base in Karachi, operated flight PK-300 to Islamabad. This was an in-house project to utilise engineering capabilities of the airline and all its aircraft would be refurbished, he said, adding that food and services were being improved and the engineering department strengthened.