KARACHI: In a short span of less than two weeks, another Indian passenger plane developed a technical fault in mid-air and made an unexpected landing at Karachi airport in the small hours of Sunday morning.

A spokesperson for the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) said that the flight of IndiGo, a low-cost airline of India, took off from Sharjah to (Indian) Hyderabad, but was diverted to Karachi when the pilot reported some fault and sought permission to land at Jinnah International Airport.

Pakistani authorities allowed the Indian airliner to land on humanitarian grounds. All 192 passengers and crew were also allowed to disembark from the aircraft and stay at a transit lounge, the spokesperson added.

In the meanwhile, IndiGo decided to send a team of engineers in a replacement aircraft to Karachi from Ahmadabad so that it could bring back the passengers.

The spokesperson said that the replacement aircraft landed in Karachi a little before 1am, and the engineers managed to rectify the fault and ready the plane good to fly. Both the planes, along with passengers, left the airport at around 1608 and 1630 hours, respectively, he added.

Earlier, in a statement shared by the PCAA with the media, the Indian airline said: “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. An additional flight is being sent to Karachi to fly the passengers to Hyderabad. The aircraft is currently being examined at the Karachi airport. IndiGo is planning to send another flight to Karachi to fly the stranded passengers.”

This is the second incident in less than two weeks, as on July 5, a Dubai-bound Indian aircraft, Boeing 737, of SpiceJet that carried 132 passengers and 12 crew members had made an unexpected landing at Jinnah International Airport after reporting some fault.

Pakistani authorities allowed Indian passengers and crew to disembark from plane and stayed at the transit lounge purely on humanitarian grounds. Later, SpiceJet sent a replacement aircraft from Mumbai to bring back stranded passengers.

Meanwhile, the stranded passengers and the airliner staff praised, appreciated and thanked the airport management, said the PCAA spokesperson.

He said an IndiGo flight technician, in his remarks, wrote that the airport staff treated them as VIPs. “Very good gesture. I really appreciate. Thank you, Pakistan,” he said.

Shijin, one of the passengers, stated: “I am so much happy to be in here for a very short time. It was my pleasure to be with these lovely people. They have done a wonderful job. Hats off to each and every one who works there. All the best and I pray for them, too.”

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2022

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