AirAsia jets in fresh incidents in Thailand and Philippines

AirAsia jets in fresh incidents in Thailand and Philippines

BANGKOK - An AirAsia flight bound for northeast Thailand turned back to the capital Bangkok shortly after takeoff Tuesday when pilots detected an "irregularity" in the storage compartment, airline officials said.

Later on Tuesday, another AirAsia jet - this time in the Philippines - skidded off the runway on arrival at a popular resort island, causing no injuries but shutting the small airport, the airline and police confirmed.

The incidents come as search teams spotted wreckage and bodies in the sea presumed to be from an AirAsia jet that vanished in a storm Sunday en route from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore with 162 people aboard.

AirAsia Flight FD3254 returned to Bangkok's Don Mueang International Airport soon after departing for Khon Kaen at 11.10 am (1210 Singapore time).

It was allowed to resume service after engineers ruled out any technical problems.

"After departure from Don Mueang, the pilots detected a minor irregularity in the storage area, thus in the interest of safety the flight returned to land at Don Mueang Airport for a detailed inspection," said Thai AirAsia in a statement. "Engineers did not discover any issues compromising the safety of flight FD3254," it said.

No passengers cancelled their flights and the plane arrived at its destination an hour behind schedule, officials said.

An AirAsia spokesman at Don Mueang Airport said the pilots turned back after "hearing some noise in the luggage compartment". He could not confirm the reason for the noise.

Around two hours later a Thai Airways Airbus A340-600 from Bangkok to London was forced to return to the Thai capital shortly after take off, after the pilot reported a technical problem.

"The plane had a problem with the hydraulic system, as a result the pilot decided to fly back to Suvarnabhumi Airport," according to a Thai Airways statement.

In the Philippines, AirAsia Flight Z2272, which was flying from Manila overshot the runway in Kalibo airport as it landed in bad weather on the tourist island of Boracay on Tuesday.

Police spokesman Nida Gregas confirmed to AFP that there were no injuries and all 153 passengers and crew were safely evacuated from the aircraft.

In an advisory, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the AirAsia plane carrying 153 passengers and six crew members overshot the airport's Runway 23 at 5.43pm.

All passengers on board the AirAsia flight EZD 272 from Manila to Kalibo were safe, said CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio.

Airport operations were suspended to enable personnel to remove the plane and clear the runway, said CAAP Western Visayas area manager Percy Malonesio.

The reasons behind the Airbus A320, piloted by Antonio Miguel Halaguena, overshooting the runway is still under investigation, said the CAAP.

Cynthia Asperas, Kalibo Internationl Airport manager, said in an interview that "strong winds" forced the plane to overshoot the runway.

Clearing operations were still ongoing as at 6.35pm with the aircraft still at the far end of the runway, preventing other planes from taking off or landing.

Bad weather in the Philippines has affected air travel in the country, with at least four flight cancellations reported.

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