ISLAMABAD: A strong smell of mangoes emanating from the cargo area forced a pilot of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flight PK-211 to land the aircraft 30 minutes after take off from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport on Saturday, The News has learnt.
According to details, flight PK-211 from Islamabad to Dubai took off from Islamabad at 1:00pm, but was brought back to the runway 30 minutes later with the pilot — prompted by the smell of mangoes wafting from the cargo area — ordering a security check.
After a delay of six hours, PIA authorities finally transferred the passengers onto a different plane that departed for Dubai at 7:00pm.
Speaking to The News, agitated passengers complained that they had been waiting in the lounge for hours, while those with children said they were facing a particularly hard time. They added that authorities were keeping them in the dark as to the cause for the delay.
One passenger Muhammad Mukhtar revealed he was flying to Dubai with four family members, but was now immensely frustrated because of the delay. “I have paid a huge amount for my air ticket, and in return I am getting this worst service,” he said. “If PIA can’t provide quality service then it should closed down immediately.”
Sources told The News that soon after take off, the flight had developed a technical fault forcing it to make an emergency landing: “The plane developed an electronic malfunction,” one official said, and added that expert aviation electricians had inspected the plane after evacuating the passengers.
When The News contacted Manager Public Relations (PR) Pakistan International Airline Muhammad Sultan, he explained that the flight was landed because of a smell in the cargo area.
He said that it was common for passengers to take mangoes with them during summers, and that carbide was placed in the crates with the fruit.
He further said carbide was not allowed inside the aircraft as it interacted with moisture to release fumes. “Because of this smell, the pilot landed the flight to perform a security check,” he added.