INCIDENT | Qantas flight from S’pore to London makes emergency landing in Azerbaijan due to technical issue

A Qantas flight from Singapore to London has been diverted to Baku, Azerbaijan, because of a technical issue in the cockpit.

Flight QF1 departed from Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 at 12.44am on Friday, following a delay of 49 minutes.

Several flight trackers online, including the Swedish Flightradar24 website, said the Heathrow-bound aircraft began squawking 7700 – the communications code for an emergency – at around 10.15am Singapore time, and made a U-turn in Georgian airspace near the capital Tbilisi.

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The Airbus A380, registration VH-OQH, which came into service in August 2009, then landed at Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku at 11.07am.

“Our flight from Singapore to London has made an unscheduled landing at Baku airport in Azerbaijan after pilots received an intermittent fault indicator in the cockpit,” said a Qantas spokesman in response to queries from The Straits Times.

“Engineers will inspect the aircraft prior to it continuing its journey.”

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The spokesman said: “Although it was considered likely to be a sensor fault, the aircraft diverted to Baku as a safety precaution. Initial investigations have found no evidence of smoke in the cargo hold.”

Ms Ruth Baker, 50, an Australian who was on the flight with her two children aged 10 and 12, told ST that about 10 hours into the flight, her son noticed on the flight tracker that the plane was doing a 180-degree turn.

“Shortly after, the captain announced that there was an intermittent indicator of concern with regard to the cargo bay,” said Ms Baker.

“He was calm and informative, assuring us that we were safe, but to be 100 per cent cautious, he was turning us back to Baku.”

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She added: “Upon landing, the crew were excellent and the Baku ground crew were wonderful. One gave his own coat to my 10-year-old son who was tired and a bit overwhelmed.”

Ms. Baker said passengers were informed by Qantas staff in Baku that the flight back to London had been rescheduled to Saturday morning, and that they would be put up in hotels for the night.

According to an update on Facebook by the Baku airport, 356 passengers were on board the flight.

Source: The Straits Times

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