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Fire on Air China flight leads to temporary runway closure at Singapore’s Changi Airport

A fire onboard Air China Flight CA403 from Chengdu led to a three-hour runway closure at Changi Airport on Sunday (10 Sep). All 146 passengers and nine crew were safely evacuated, though nine sustained minor injuries. The cause is under investigation by Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau.



SINGAPORE: Changi Airport faced a momentary crisis on Sunday (10 Sep) when a runway had to be closed for approximately three hours following a fire outbreak on an Air China plane.

Due to the incident, a different aircraft was forced to divert its course.

The flight in question, Air China’s Flight CA403, en route from Chengdu in China, reported a troubling development at around 4pm when smoke was discovered in the forward cargo hold and lavatory, as mentioned by Changi Airport in a statement on Facebook.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) revealed that the pilot subsequently declared an emergency and sought priority landing, which was swiftly approved.

The aircraft safely touched down on Changi Airport’s Runway 3 by approximately 4:15pm.

A quick evacuation ensued, ensuring the safety of all 146 passengers and the nine crew members on board. They were promptly led out of the plane via the emergency slides and then transported by bus to the main terminal.

The situation escalated when, at about 4:25pm, Airport Emergency Services had to tackle and eventually extinguish a fire detected in the aircraft’s left engine.

CAAS updated that out of those evacuated, nine passengers sustained minor injuries, mainly from smoke inhalation and abrasions. Immediate medical attention was provided to them.

The aftermath of the incident saw the aircraft being moved away at roughly 6pm. After a series of necessary inspections, the closed runway, one of the three at Changi Airport, reopened its operations a little after 7pm.

During the runway’s closure period, one plane was rerouted to Batam, Indonesia, as confirmed by CAAS.

To prepare passengers for potential disruptions, Changi Airport had earlier hinted at possible operational disturbances, urging travellers to stay updated via their official website or mobile application.

As of now, both Air China and the Changi Airport Group are actively aiding the passengers and crew of Flight CA403.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, and Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau has undertaken the task, collaborating with their Chinese counterparts for a comprehensive inquiry into the incident.

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