An Air India flight from Delhi to San Francisco lands in Russia after a technical problem

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – An Air India flight from Delhi to San Francisco was forced to divert and land at an airport in Russia’s Far East after it developed a technical problem with one of its engines, the airline said on Tuesday.

The diversion of the Boeing 777 wide-body jet comes amid a global debate over the use of Russian airspace by some airlines, with the president of United Airlines (UAL.O) warning Monday of the dangers of forcing the plane. To land in Russia with US citizens on board.

Air India said the 216 passengers and 16 crew members on board were offered support on the ground and were accommodated in local hotels for the night.

The airline said it plans to send a plane on Wednesday to pick them up and take them to their original destination.

“The authorities are extending every cooperation in our efforts to ensure that passengers arrive safely at their destination as soon as possible,” she added.

Air India said it could not share any passenger details.

Russia’s aviation authority said it was checking the technical condition of the plane after it landed at Magadan airport and had given permission for an alternative flight to land there at 0300 GMT on Wednesday.

“Currently, the issue of accommodation and residence of passengers is being resolved by border, customs and regional authorities,” Rosaviatsia said earlier today.

The airport of Magadan, a coastal town on the Sea of ​​Okhotsk in Russia’s far east, did not respond to a request for comment.

The conversion also raises questions about how quickly the $200 million Boeing 777, a high-profile American jet whose engines are built by General Electric (GE.N), can be repaired amid US and EU sanctions over exports of aerospace materials to the US. Russia.

In 2018, a Norwegian Boeing 737 made an emergency landing in Iran with engine problems weeks after Washington reimposed sanctions, and was stuck for more than two months.

186 passengers and six crew members were able to leave Shiraz the next day. But despite initial assurances from the airline that the plane would be quickly flown home, the GE engines project waited weeks for an export license from the US Treasury Department.

The US Commerce Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

GE Aerospace said it was aware of the diversion and was working with Air India to resolve the issue.


Air India CEO Campbell Wilson on Monday defended the airline’s use of Russian airspace, citing the critical role the industry plays in connecting economies, people and cultures.

“Air India, we work according to the scope of what India gives us and not all countries agree on,” he said in a meeting during the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Russia banned US and other foreign carriers from using its airspace in retaliation for Washington banning Russian flights over the US in March 2022 after Moscow sent troops to Ukraine.

However, Air India and some Gulf-based Chinese and African carriers continue to fly over Russia, making flight times shorter and making US competitors uncompetitive.

In February, US senators urged the Biden administration to stop Chinese and other non-US airlines from flying over Russia on US routes.

Reuters reported last week that Chinese airlines are avoiding using Russian airspace for four newly approved flights to and from the United States.

Additional reporting by Aditi Shah, Tim Hever, and Joanna Plosinska in Istanbul, David Shepardson and Valerie Ensina in DC, Alexandra Maro and Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Emilia Sithole-Matarris, David Evans, and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Joanna Plosinska

Thomson Reuters

Joanna reports on airlines and travel in Europe, including tourism trends, sustainability and politics. She was previously based in Warsaw, where she covered political and general news. She wrote stories about everything from Chinese spies to migrants stranded in the forests along the Belarusian border. In 2022, she spent six weeks covering the war in Ukraine, focusing on evacuating children, war reparations, and evidence that Russian leaders knew about sexual violence by their forces. Joanna graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2014. Prior to joining Reuters, she worked in Hong Kong for TIME and later in Brussels writing on EU technology policy for POLITICO Europe.

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