x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Faulty landing gear forces jet to return to Kuwait Airport

A Kuwaiti Airways Corporation flight to London returned to Kuwait International Airport yesterday after its landing gear failed to retract, an airline official said.

KUWAIT CITY // A Kuwaiti Airways Corporation flight to London returned to Kuwait International Airport yesterday after its landing gear failed to retract, an airline official said.

The incident is the third time in a month that a Kuwaiti Airways aeroplane has returned to the airport because of a technical problem.

"It was a normal landing, not an emergency landing," said Ahmed Bourisly, the airline's director of public relations and media. "If any plane takes off and wants to come back, everybody should be on alert. It's a precaution."

Mr al Bourisly said pilots declare emergency landings, and this was not the case yesterday. He said the passengers were re-boarding the Airbus 340 to begin their journey after engineers fixed the problem.

Last month, several passengers were injured in a scramble for the emergency slides when a flight to Dhaka returned to the airport. Mr al Bourisly said one of the victims, an elderly Bangladeshi man who had suffered an epileptic seizure, later died in hospital. Airline officials reported smoke in the cabin at the time of the incident, but an investigation is still being conducted.

One week later, another flight to Dhaka returned to Kuwait after high pressure was reported in the cabin, he said.

Kuwait's national carrier has been undergoing a prolonged privatisation that has left the airline with a lack of money for new jets. Company engineers say the aging fleet is as safe as any other airline, but maintenance takes longer. Mr al Bourisly said the jet that returned to the airport yesterday came into service around 1996 or 1997.

Members of parliament have accused Kuwaiti Airlines of poor safety standards in the past and in March the government established a committee to investigate alleged corruption.

 

jcalderwood@thenational.ae