By Simon Hradecky, created Thursday, Dec 20th 2012 16:44Z, last updated Friday, Dec 21st 2012 16:00Z
An Air Berlin Airbus A330-200, registration D-ABXA performing flight AB-7425 from Phuket (Thailand) to Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) with 249 passengers, was climbing out of Phuket's runway 27 when the crew stopped the climb and decided to return to Phuket. The crew declared emergency reporting a left hand engine (PW4168) fire indication, shut the engine down, activated the engine fire suppression and landed safely on runway 09 about 40 minutes after departure at 21:26L (14:26Z). The aircraft was disabled on the runway after a number of tyres deflated, there were no injuries. The passengers disembarked onto the runway via mobile stairs.
The airport reported the crew reported an engine fire before turning back to the aerodrome. The aerodrome was closed for about 6 hours until the aircraft was removed from the runway.
Passengers reported repeated bangs and sparks flying off an engine. Three main gear tyres were blown during landing.
One passenger reported the aircraft was already descending back towards Phuket at 21:14L when the engine caught fire.
The airline confirmed an incident on flight AB-7425, all passengers are in good health and disembarked via stairs, no further details are yet known to the airline. The airline does not confirm an engine fire however.
An Etihad Airways Boeing 777-300, registration A6-ETI performing flight EY-403 from Bangkok (Thailand) to Abu Dhabi diverted to Phuket to pick up the passengers of flight AB-7425, departed Phuket at 12:20L (05:20Z) and is estimated to reach Abu Dhabi with a delay of 3.5 hours with respect to flight EY-403 and a delay of 15 hours with respect to flight AB-7425.
A3982/12 - RWY 09/27 CLSD DUE TO DISABLE AIRCRAFT. 20 DEC 15:21 2012 UNTIL 20 DEC 20:30 2012. CREATED: 20 DEC 15:24 2012