Mumbai airport denies Pak media reports that plane was denied landing

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The Pakistani media alleged that Mumbai airport denied an emergency landing to Saudia flight SA805 on February 20 from Dhaka to Riyadh, citing a medical emergency. Mumbai ATC, AAI, and sources from Mumbai airport clarified that the flight was given permission to land but chose to go around, eventually landing at Karachi airport due to the passenger’s deteriorating condition.

Industry veteran Captain Skahti Lumba criticised the incident on X, saying, “Saudi plane makes emergency landing in Karachi after India ‘refuses’ to offload ailing Muslim passenger. What a Shame refusing an emergency landing due to the nationality of the passenger.” Saudia flight SA 805 took off at 3.57 am, it encountered a medical emergency en route from Dhaka to Riyadh. The passenger, Abu Tahir, faced a medical crisis, leading to the aircraft landing at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi at 7.28 am.

Captain Shakti Lumba

As per Pakistan media reports, the flight initially requested an emergency landing at Mumbai airport, but the request was denied.  As per the sources, the pilot diverted to Karachi airport due to the deteriorating condition of the passenger. Mumbai airport personnel were prepared to assist, but the aircraft chose not to land.

Western Regional Office of Airport Authority of India said, “Saudia flight SA805 had a medical emergency on board which was cleared to land at Mumbai airport. There was no denial of emergency landing at Mumbai airport from the Air Traffic Controllers.” According to sources at Mumbai airport, “All personnel, including medical teams, were reportedly ready to provide necessary assistance to the ailing passenger. Despite this, the aircraft chose not to land in Mumbai.”

An official from the Mumbai ATC, said, “The aircraft had started dumping fuel to reduce weight after being cleared for landing at Mumbai. We had informed the medical teams to be ready as well. Despite this, the Prasun Choudhariaircraft chose not to land in Mumbai, citing company policies.” An official from AAI said, “Under no circumstances is an aircraft denied landing permission in case of a medical emergency at any airport in India.” A source from MoCA said, “If the air traffic controller had denied an emergency landing, an official inquiry would have been set up for the same.”

A senior official from DGCA revealed, “There is no official complaint from the airlines regarding a denied emergency landing at Mumbai airport.” “Upon landing at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, Tahir received primary medical treatment. After receiving treatment, Tahir was able to continue his journey as the plane departed from Karachi to Riyadh,” disclosed sources from Saudia Airlines, but they refused to comment on the fact check of denied landing permission at Mumbai airport. Saudia Airlines did not respond to this reporter’s emails for an official comment.

Feb 20
Day the incident occurred

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