A major disaster was averted after an AirAsia India flight ferrying 76 people, including six infants, made a safe emergency landing at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) here on Tuesday afternoon after developing a snag.

Earlier, though the flight was supposed to land at 1.40 pm, it had to land 10 minutes before the scheduled arrival when the pilots, after detecting a fuel leakage, shut down the engine and made a ‘Mayday’ call to the Air Traffic Control (ATC). After the call, all emergency protocols, including fire, ambulance and the police, were activated on the ground, sources said.

However, the flight landed safely bringing relief to the passengers and the officials who witnessed tense moments after getting information from the ATC. The incident kept officials on tenterhooks as it happened a day after the domestic flight operations resumed on Monday.

A statement issued by AirAsia India said the aircraft VT-IXC operating as i51543 from Jaipur to Hyderabad encountered a technical issue and carried out a precautionary engine shutdown. Handling the situation calmly in a professional manner, the crew landed the plane safely at RGIA, the statement said.

The aircraft, which was supposed to take off from RGIA to Bengaluru later, was grounded and the passengers were accommodated in another flight, airport sources said.

Aviation engineers were immediately pressed into service to rectify the snag. “We are carrying out a detailed inspection of the aircraft. Having informed the DGCA, we are assisting in the investigation to establish the cause,” the statement added.

In the statement, AirAsia India said ‘Safety First’ was a core value and the safety of the guests and crew was the single-most-important criteria in every aspect of the operations.

“The pilots and crew are experienced and well-trained to manage these situations. We apologise for the delay on the subsequent flight and confirm that our guests have been re-accommodated,” the airline’s spokesperson said.

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