Etihad Flight Being Investigated After Smoke Detected in Toilets

Feb 19, 2014 2:10 am ET

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Etihad Airways PJSC, the third- largest Middle Eastern airline, said one of its flights is being investigated after smoke was detected in two toilets, prompting the captain to make an unscheduled landing in Jakarta.

The captain of flight EY 461 from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi on Feb. 17 decided to divert the plane to the Indonesian capital to allow authorities to assist him conduct a “security assessment of the situation,” the airline said in an e-mailed statement today. The flight resumed after a security search of the aircraft, passengers and their carry-on luggage.

Another toilet smoke alarm occurred on the Boeing Co. 777-300ER two hours before arrival in Abu Dhabi, prompting the captain to position crew members at each of the toilets, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad said. The crew continued to monitor and secure toilet access for the remainder of the flight, maintaining “strict controls” over passenger movement that were enforced after the first alert.

“The events that occurred during the flight remain under investigation,” the carrier said. “Etihad Airways is assisting the authorities to complete this as soon as possible.”

Passengers were being questioned by local authorities after getting off the plane, Etihad said.

Kristanto, a spokesman at PT Angkasa Pura II, the state- owned operator of the Soekarno-Hatta airport in Jakarta, declined to comment. The company’s Corporate Secretary Daryanto didn’t return three calls to his mobile phone and hasn’t replied to a text message seeking comment.

--With assistance from Berni Moestafa in Jakarta. Editors: Anand Krishnamoorthy, Frank Longid