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‘False alarm’ forces AI flight to land in Pakistan, passengers safe


An Air India (AI) flight from Abu Dhabi to Delhi, with 128 passengers and crew members aboard, made an emergency landing in Pakistan following a “false alarm”, wherein pilots thought that all the three hydraulic systems had overheated. 


“A computer display error caused the instrumentation to display a hydraulic problem,” a senior AI official said. “The plane was checked by our engineers flown from Delhi and the hydraulic systems were found to be fine.”

“A hydraulic problem could result in loss of flight controls, such as brakes,” said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, an aviation expert.


The alarm went off while the flight was in Pakistan airspace. “Keeping passenger safety foremost in mind, the pilot of the aircraft decided to land at Nawabshah airport in Sindh, Pakistan. The aircraft made a safe landing at 4.15 am. A relief flight was dispatched to bring back the passengers with engineering personnel and material. The relief aircraft from Delhi returned with the stranded passengers at 5 pm,” AI said.


“This is an extreme occurrence. We will have a full-fledged inquiry,” the official said, adding that the pilots had done a commendable job.


Meanwhile, New Delhi has thanked Pakistan for facilitating the aircraft’s emergency landing. According to sources, Pakistani authorities “went out of their way” to ensure that the flight passengers and crew faced no inconvenience.


Though the passengers were offered lounge access at the airport, they preferred to remain inside the aircraft. Pakistani authorities also issued visa-on-arrival to the passengers as well as crew members. “They were extended hospitality and support,” said the spokesperson of the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi.


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