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Qantas A380 Superjumbo to London Makes Unexpected Stop in Azerbaijan After Fire Warning

Qantas A380 Superjumbo to London Makes Unexpected Stop in Azerbaijan After Fire Warning

a large airplane in the sky

Around 356 passengers and crew onboard a Qantas Airbus A380 superjumbo have made an unexpected stop in Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea after an intermittent smoke warning in the cargo hold prompted an emergency diversion to Baku International Airport.

The aircraft was operating Qantas’ flagship QF1 callsign from Singapore to London Heathrow (LHR) where it was expected to arrive a few minutes ahead of schedule on Friday morning before the sudden diversion to the South Caucasus.

Now, both passengers and crew will be wondering whether they will make it home in time for Christmas with the doubledeck aircraft still sitting on the ground in Baju after the pilots and cabin crew ran out of hours to legally operate the flight.

The 13-year-old aircraft departed Singapore around an hour late in the early hours on Friday but was expected to make up some time during the 12-hour flight to London when, more than eight hours into the flight, the superjumbo turned back around over Georgia and headed for Baku.

Although Qantas has no presence in Azerbaijan, the country’s capital was chosen as a diversion airport because it was closest in the region able to handle an aircraft the size of an A380.

The aircraft landed without incident at around 3 am (GMT) but remains on the ground, while the aircrew get mandatory rest.

A Qantas spokesperson explained: “The aircraft intermittently alerted the pilots to the potential of smoke in the cargo hold. Although it was considered likely to be a sensor fault, the aircraft diverted to Baku as a safety precaution.”

“Initial investigations have found no evidence of smoke in the cargo hold. We thank customers for their patience, and we are working to get them on their way as quickly as possible.”

Qantas’ A380 flight to London from Singapore normally lands at around 6 am in the morning and then sits on the tarmac all day before returning to Singapore and then onwards to Sydney.

On this occasion, however, the return flight has already been proactively delayed by nearly 13 hours, meaning that passengers on the Singapore-bound flight who were hoping to land on Christmas Eve won’t now arrive in Asia until 6:20 am on Christmas Day at the earliest.

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