KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian Airlines plane bound for Colombo, Sri Lanka, had to make an unexpected turn back to Kuala Lumpur after circling the Straits of Malacca for two hours in the early hours of Sunday morning.
According to aircraft tracking websites, Flight MH179 had flown on hold over the ocean just west of Pulau Tengah and Pulau Ketam for about two hours.
The flight, which took off at 11.30pm on Saturday was supposed to arrive in Colombo at 12.18am local time on Sunday.
About an hour into the flight, Flightradar24 tweeted that the MH179 from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo had been holding for one hour after departure.
It then tweeted an hour later that: “MH179 is returning to Kuala Lumpur after two hours of fuel burn to reduce landing weight.”
This manoeuvre however, is commonplace for many aircrafts. It is most commonly performed when airports are congested and there is no space to land.
The aircraft landed safely back in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at around 1.50am. The cause for the turn back is currently unknown as Malaysia Airlines has yet to comment on the situation.
Word about the situation spread quickly through social media and many were thankful that there were no reported disasters.
Malaysia Airlines is still in the recovery process after a tumultuous 2014 which saw two major air disasters for the company. Flight MH370 went missing on March 8 last year en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board while Flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17 on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board.
Shortly after MH179 returned to KLIA, Flightradar24 tweeted that it had landed safely back in KLIA, but the reason for the return is “not known at the moment”.