Air India’s relief aircraft that was sent to ferry passengers of its New Delhi-bound flight that had made an emergency landing at the Nawabshah Airport in Sindh in the early hours of Monday arrived here around 1:30 p.m. (local time) and is scheduled to leave on its return journey shortly.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman Pervez George told The Hindu that the passengers and their luggage were being transferred to the relief aircraft and they should be airborne soon.
The New Delhi-bound aircraft had made an emergency landing at the Nawabshah Airport at 3-37 a.m. after the pilot detected a problem with the hydraulic system. Following the emergency landing, Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi instructed CAA to provide all possible assistance and facilities to the 122 passengers and eight crew members on board the flight that was coming from Abu Dhabi.
According to Mr. George, the pilot had been offered the option of allowing the passengers and crew to use the airport lounge but the captain opted out stating that they were comfortable inside the plane as the airconditioning was on and the aircraft was adequately stocked in food. “All he asked for was water, which was provided.”
The Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior, Rehman Malik, also directed the officials of Interior Ministry to make all arrangements to issue transit visas for 24 hours to the passengers and crew. However, since the passengers and crew members were transferred from one aircraft to the other, the transit visa facility was not availed.
The relief aircraft also ferried in engineers and technicians to repair the snag. How long will that take is not clear but Mr. George told The Hindu that the CAA would provide them whatever help they may need.
Essentially an airport used for domestic flights, the Nawabshah Airport located in the central Sindh district of Shaheed Benazirabad dates back to the colonial era.
The Indian High Commission was in constant contact with the pilot, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and CAA to get the necessary flight clearances for allowing the relief aircraft to land and take-off from the airport.
Meanwhile, as social networkers commented on the emergency landing, the Jama’at-ud-Da’wah joined in on Twitter with the following tweet: “Alhumdulillah – all passengers safe after emergency landing of Air India plane in Pakistan. Return safely!”
Article source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3619561.ece