KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 – Live air traffic website Flightradar24 this afternoon posted an image of Jeddah bound AirAsiaX Flight D7172’s flight path, hovering over the Straits of Malacca for four hours before making its way back to Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2). According to a tweet by the website, it was circling for four hours to burn fuel in order to reduce the A330 aircraft’s weight before returning to the airport.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai later posted that he was informed the aircraft had experienced technical problem but had landed safely at KLIA2. AFP report stated that AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, in a text message to the agency, confirmed the incident but said it was a small matter which did not put any of the passengers at risk. “One auto-thrust not functioning properly. Actually okay to fly, but we just returning it to base,” said Tony as was quoted by the news agency.
The plane was reported to have departed from KLIA2 at 11.15am today as it headed for Jeddah. The malfunction, however, forced the plane to make its way back as part of its precautionary measures. Last December, the airline’s Indonesian counterpart was hit with a tragedy that saw all its 162 passengers on one of its plane killed. Flight QZ8501 had crashed into the Java Sea while on its way from Surabaya to Singapore, believed to be caused by bad weather.