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February 7, 2014

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Air India pilots forced to land diverted 787 plane manually

Pilots of a Dreamliner which was forced to divert midflight to Kuala Lumpur had to land the plane manually after suffering computer problems, an Air India spokesman said yesterday.

The Air India jet was en route from Melbourne to New Delhi on Wednesday when it suffered what an official had said were “software glitches” and had to make an emergency landing ­— the latest in a series of mishaps to hit the Boeing aircraft.

Air India spokesman Praveen Bhatnagar said “the commanders lost their confidence in the software system.”

“The alternate method available to them was manual landing,” Bhatnagar said in New Delhi yesterday.

He said the problem was “not serious” and denied local media reports that all three of the plane’s navigation computers, which allow the plane to fly long distances on auto pilot, had failed.

More than 200 passengers and crew were stranded overnight in the Malaysian capital after the plane landed safely.

Boeing engineers, who rushed in from Hong Kong, fixed the problem and the plane took off for Delhi later, the airline said.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner has suffered a series of problems since coming into service two years ago, including a global grounding of its fleet last year over battery system problems.

Air India’s Dreamliner fleet has also encountered technical hitches, including an incident where the fuselage panel of a jet fell off while landing in the southern Indian city of Bangalore last October.

The following month, a plane’s windshield cracked while landing in Australia, and last month an Air India Dreamliner returned to London after a transponder failure.



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