Emirates plane returns

EMIRATES Airline is conducting an investigation into the dramatic recall of one of its planes, after reports of smoke in the passenger cabin forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in Dubai last week.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  April 17, 2005

EMIRATES Airline is conducting an investigation into the dramatic recall of one of its planes, after reports of smoke in the passenger cabin forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in Dubai last week. Flight EK087, which was bound for Zurich was called back to Dubai International Airport last Sunday (April 10) after reports of smoke came from the economy compartment. The Airbus plane had taken off less than half an hour prior to the recall order. Emirates claims the smoke came from condensation and vapour emanating from the cargo section of the plane. “Yesterday, April 10, an Emirates Airline A340-300 (EK087) flight en-route to Zurich returned to Dubai after 20 minutes after reports of smoke in the passenger cabin,” said Mike Simon, senior vice president, corporate communications, Emirates Airline. “On arrival in Dubai a thorough investigation was made to the aircraft and it was ascertained the smoke and the smell was a result of condensation and water vapour coming from 800 kilos of fish packed in ice in the cargo hold,” he added. However, David Learmont, the long time safety editor of Flight International magazine believes the reason for the pullback is debatable. “This is one of the strangest reasons I’ve ever heard for pulling a flight back,” he told Arabian Business. “If Emirates says the smoke was caused by the frozen fish then it should have smelt of fish and not caused as much alarm as it clearly did,” he added. The plane, which was due for takeoff at 08:40 was later swapped for another aircraft which left three hours later. A team of experts immediately set to work on the recalled plane to try and find out what had happened. “Our engineers are investigating the reason for this occurrence,” explained Emirates’ Simon. “We apologise for this inconvenience but our passengers safety is paramount for Emirates,” he added. The airline denies it was a more serious technical problem that forced the plane to re-land in Dubai despite Learmont’s suspicions. “I don’t see how condensation and water vapour, which both contain H20, can have a burning smell,” said Learmont. “I don’t think condensation can be mistaken for thick smoke, similar to that which would come from a serious fault with the engine,” he added. The result of the Emirates investigation is expected this week.

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