Singapore Airlines jet makes emergency landing in Azerbaijan
SINGAPORE — A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 superjumbo made an emergency landing in Azerbaijan on Monday, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded at the airport in the capital Baku.
The service from London to Singapore landed safely without any injuries to the 467 passengers and 27 crew members on board, a Singapore Airlines spokesman said.
“Oxygen masks were deployed and the aircraft landed uneventfully at Baku airport at 01:03 (2103 GMT Sunday),” he told AFP by email.
“We are seeking clearance from local authorities to transfer affected customers to a hotel until a replacement aircraft arrives from Singapore.
Airbus said in a statement that it was “following up on this issue and providing technical assistance to the airline.”
Angry passengers took to social media to complain about being stranded in the Heydar Aliyev International Airport instead of being put up in hotels.
“We are not going to a hotel but will be flying out tonight after an 18-hour wait around the duty free area,” wrote passenger Nic Coulthard on the Singapore Airlines Facebook page at 0930 GMT.
“I don’t think it is inconsistent for passengers to be grateful for a safe landing whilst disappointed at the lack of communication and facilities provided once on the ground,” he wrote.
Another passenger, Terri Mann, complained that she had to sleep on a “cold steel bench” with her 17-month old child, and that there were no “food places” at the airport.
“We are all a little hesitant about getting on our next legs of our journeys, just hope the worst is over,” she wrote.
Responding to the flood of posts on Facebook, Singapore Airlines said it was sending staff from Moscow and Istanbul to assist the affected passengers.
“Our relief flight will depart for Baku as soon as the approvals are all obtained,” it said.
In another comment responding to queries about a supposedly defective door that led to the cabin depressurisation, it said there was a noise reported during an earlier flight.
“The door was inspected by engineers on the ground in London with no findings, and the aircraft was cleared for continued operation,” it said.
Passenger Matthew G. Johnson had said earlier that a “loud air noise was heard from the door five rows in front” shortly after take-off from Heathrow Airport in London.
Upon questioning, a crew member allegedly told him that the door had a “mild” leaking seal, Johnson said in a Facebook posting accompanied by a photograph of a dimly lit cabin with oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling.
A few hours later, oxygen masks were deployed and the aircraft began an emergency descent over Afghanistan after the cabin began losing pressure, he said.
Singapore Airlines has a fleet of 19 Airbus A380s, with five others on order, according to its website.
The planes are used for flights from Singapore to various destinations including Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London and Los Angeles.