Air Seychelles makes emergency landing in Jeddah
Carrying 128 Israeli passengers, flight HM022 originated from Seychelles. (Air Seychelles)
(Seychelles News Agency) - An Air Seychelles flight, which made an emergency landing in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Monday night due to a technical malfunction, reached its destination in Tel Aviv on Tuesday afternoon.
According to Air Seychelles approximately 4 to 5 hours into the flight, an electrical issue occurred and the flight diverted to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which was the nearest airport.
"The Authorities in Israel and Saudi Arabia were alerted to the situation and kept in constant communication. The Saudis approved for the passengers to disembark the aircraft and all passengers and crew were accommodated at an airport hotel overnight," said Air Seychelles.
In the morning on Tuesday, a replacement Air Seychelles aircraft was dispatched and the passengers and crew were flown from Jeddah to Tel Aviv, arriving at approximately 1.30 pm Tel Aviv time.
The airline said that the aircraft with the electrical fault will remain on the ground in Jeddah until the replacement parts have been installed. No other flights have been impacted or cancelled.
The Air Seychelles chief executive, Sandy Benoiton, said: "Safety and security of our passengers and crew are always our top priority. The crew followed all protocols and out of an abundance of caution diverted the flight to Jeddah. The Israeli and Saudi authorities were informed at every stage. The passengers gave Air Seychelles credit for the good handling of the situation and thanked the Saudis for the way they were warmly greeted."
The emergency landing was operated under unique circumstances as the two countries – Saudi Arabia and Israel – have never established diplomatic relations. Israelis are restricted from travelling to Saudi Arabia, except under certain conditions.
"The airport confirmed that a number 2 state of emergency was declared with all the readiness was in place to provide assistance to the plane. The emergency operational management room at the airport was activated and the plane landed safely at 8:40 pm local time," according to the Saudi Gazette news service.
Air Seychelles, the national airline of Seychelles, was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. The airline offers international and domestic flights to over 12 airlines operating at the Seychelles International Airport at Pointe Larue.
Updated: 4.11 pm