A Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 passenger jet carrying 180 passengers was forced to return to Islamabad International Airport (ISB) owing to a technical fault with the aircraft.
The incident occurred on December 12, 2021, when Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Airbus A320-200 jet, registered as AP-BLB, took off for domestic flight PK-301 connecting Islamabad and Karachi in Pakistan.
According to Flightradar24 data, the plane departed ISB at around 12:54 p.m. (UTC) and was scheduled to land at Jinnah International Airport (KHI) a few hours later. However, as soon as the aircraft had reached an altitude of 4,000 feet, the flight crew reportedly noticed a technical issue with the engine.
In response to the emergency, pilots diverted the jet to ISB airport where it taxied to the apron for inspection.
The Aviation Herald reported that passengers remained onboard the aircraft while engineers attempted to fix the engine issue. Once the repairs were made, the flight crew attempted to taxi the aircraft for re-departure, but the engine was still making an unusual noise. As a result, the jet did not take off.
The engineers made a second attempt to fix the engine problem, but were not successful. When the flight crew tried to depart again, the engine continued making suspicious noises and the aircraft was still unable to take off.
Meanwhile, all but six passengers insisted that they deboard the aircraft. Once passengers disembarked, engineers were able to fix the engine issue, and the plane was finally able to take off. The flight landed at KHI airport following a 7.5-hour delay.
While the Aviation Herald named the engine problem as the main cause of the incident, Pakistani news outlet, Dawn, reported that the A320 plane suffered an inertial navigation system fault.
However, PIA is yet to provide an official explanation regarding the incident.