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British Airways Mumbai-London flight makes emergency landing in Azerbaijan

NEW DELHI, Dec 11: A Mumbai-London British Airways flight declared an emergency over Iranian airspace and was rerouted to land at the nearest major airport in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The apparent reason, by a passenger who seems to be on the flight, was smoke in the first class cabin of the flight.

The flight, BA198, was rerouted to Baku 'squawking 7700'. That's aviation code for when the crew of a flight declares an emergency and requests immediate assistance from all air traffic control centres in the region.

A trace of the flight path on flight-tracking site Flighradar showed BA198, a Boeing 777-300 ER, departing from Mumbai, flying into Pakistani airspace over Balochistan, entering Iranian airspace and issuing the emergency call just as it was about to leave Iranian air.

Flightradar said soon after notifying of the alert that the plane had touched down at Baku with a technical difficulty.

However, as is common in cases like this, there was little clarity on what this technical issue was. Till a tweet emerged from a person who seems to have been on the flight. Sylvia Traganida, a Greek journalist tweeted, "First 3.5-hour delay at #Mumbai due to #snow ? in #London. Now stuck in #Baku due to technical fault (smoke in 1st class). Makes me wish I were still in #Goa! ?? #India (not the best end to my #holiday)."

Pradeep Singh Kharola takes over as Air India CMD

NEW DELHI, Dec 11: Senior IAS officer Pradeep Singh Kharola on Monday took charge as the chairman and managing director (CMD) of Air India. Kharola assumed charge from Rajiv Bansal.

A 1985-batch Karnataka cadre officer, Kharola would be steering the national carrier at a time when the government has started the process for its strategic disinvestment. He was the managing director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd since February 2015.

Among others, Kharola has worked in various posts in Karnataka, including as the chairman of Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation Ltd. He has also served as principal secretary to the Karnataka chief minister.

As part of efforts to revive the fortunes of Air India—which is staying afloat on taxpayers’ money—the government has decided on selling stake in the airline. The carrier, which has a debt burden of more than Rs50,000 crore, managed to eke out operational profit for the first time in a decade in 2015-16.



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