An India-bound flight of Malaysia Airlines was forced to return due to an auto-pilot defect, landing safely here on Sunday, said the carrier already hit by the twin tragedies this year. Flight MH198 from Kuala Lumpur to Hyderabad departed at 10.20 pm Saturday but the Boeing 737-800 turned back due to an auto-pilot defect and landed safely at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 2.01 am Sunday, it said in a statement.
“The defect did not have any impact on the safety of the aircraft or passengers, however, as a precautionary measure, the operating captain decided to turn back,” the airline said. It refuted reports on social media that the aircraft caught fire.
Initial reports had said the plane had to make an emergency landing due to “burning fuel”.
The airline said upon arrival, passengers and crew disembarked safely and were given accommodation at nearby hotels. The flight, rescheduled to operate as MH198D, left Kuala Lumpur for Hyderabad at 12.20 pm Sunday.
The airline said it regretted the disruption to its guests’ travel plans, but reiterated that safety of its passengers was its priority.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 with 239 people aboard lost contact on March 8. No trace of any wreckage has been found so far.
Another flight MH17 was shot down by a missile over eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 289 people aboard.