Hong Kong aviation

HK Express flight to Japan forced to return to Hong Kong due to technical issue

About an hour after take-off, airport controllers received request from Flight UO850 to return to city

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 10:45am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 11:53am

A Japan-bound Hong Kong Express plane carrying 230 passengers was forced to return to the airport a little more than an hour after take-off due to a technical issue.

Flight UO850 departed from Hong Kong International Airport at about 7am on Thursday and was expected to arrive at Osaka’s Kansai International Airport just before noon.

But about half an hour after take-off, airport controllers received a request for an air return to Hong Kong and for local standby. This usually indicates a minor emergency involving the approach of a defective aircraft. Firefighters and ambulances are placed in a state of readiness.

Live flight tracking on the website Flightradar showed the plane circling twice over the waters off Daya Bay before returning to Chek Lap Kok.

The plane landed safely at about 8.20am, and “no airport operations were affected”, an Airport Authority spokeswoman said.

“HK Express confirms that flight UO850 [which] departed from Hong Kong to Osaka-Kansai at 7.05am has turned back to Hong Kong due to a technical issue,” a spokesman for the airline said.

“The aircraft performed a safe landing at Hong Kong International Airport at 8.19am with no injury or discomfort reported. A replacement aircraft has been arranged and is expected to depart to Osaka-Kansai at 10.45am this morning.”

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The rescheduled flight left Hong Kong at 11.20am.

“Safety is of utmost priority to HK Express, and we deeply apologise for the delay and inconvenience caused to affected guests,” the airline added.

Water and snacks would be distributed to the affected passengers, the spokesman said.

The carrier did not elaborate on the nature of the “technical issue”, but it was understood not to be fire-related.