Video shows panicked passengers in the aisle
An Airblue flight from Lahore to Karachi returned from the tarmac parking bay just before the take-off causing concerns among the passengers who included 20 Sindh MPA as rumours spread. The flight eventually took off after a delay of four hours and landed in Karachi.
The flight PA405 was scheduled to take off from Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport at 6 pm and land in Karachi at 7:50 pm, according to the data shared with flight tracking services.
However, the flight could not take off even by 8 pm – over two hours after the boarding closed.
There were reports that the aircraft came back from the tarmac and the passengers disembarked after waiting for an hour on their seats.
Aviation sources say that “the aircraft began taxiing at 6:07 pm but returned to parking bay at 6:18 PM due to some technical problem.” They said the problem was noticed by the cockpit crew.
The passengers included 20 Members of the Provincial Assembly (MPAs) of Sindh, one of the MPA Raja Azhar told SAMAA Tv.
The MPA were from MQM, PTI and GDA (Grade Democratic Alliance).
The situation caused rumours and fear among the travellers.
A social media footage widely shared over Twitter shows passengers, including MPAs, standing in the aisle of the aircraft and speaking over phones. One woman is heard saying “No problem, we are getting late but change the aircraft.”
Finally, the flight PA405 took off at 10 pm with a 4-hour delay and landed in Karachi at 11:22 pm, according to flight tracking services.
Most of the passengers not only panicked they were also annoyed. PTI MPA Raja Azhar said the airline officials never explained what the fault was and why the aircraft was brought back to the parking bay.
He said women and children were worried.
PPP MPA Manzoor Wassan questioned why an aircraft with a fault was declared airworthy.
The flightradar24 data shows that the flight was operated using an Airbus A320 aircraft bearing registration number AP-BNV.
It is an 11-year-old aircraft that was used by three foreign airlines before Airblue leased it in July 2019.
A320 is a narrow-body aircraft used by several airlines and often operated on domestic routes.
It can carry 140 to 170 passengers.