On the evening of May 8, 2019, a Paris – Mumbai non-stop flight, AF 218, operated by Joon (Air France’s low-cost brand), diverted to the Isfahan airport in Iran, after developing a snag with the ventilation system of the Airbus A340-300 that was operating the segment.
As per Air France, the plane landed normally at Isfahan at 17:00 Paris Time.
The situation with Iran is slightly tricky for the moment. Iran is one of the busiest air corridors in this part of the world, and all the more so now with Qatar Airways overflying them due to their blockade by Saudi Arabia and UAE, amongst others, and flights from India having to bypass Pakistan due to airspace closure.
Given the sanctions which have been imposed by the USA on Iran, last year, a Norwegian Air Boeing aircraft, which diverted there, took many months to be extracted out of there, since the requisite parts needed to repair the aircraft was deemed Exports by the USA and could not head to Iran under normal circumstances.
But after refiling the flight plan to continue flying to Mumbai, the crew was timing out on their flight times, so the aircraft was diverted to Dubai World Central instead. From there, passengers were shuttled to Dubai International Airport to be rebooked on other flights. However, that does not seem to be the case so far.
At this point in time, people have spent over 40 hours on the road.
Given the shutdown of Jet Airways, there is anyways a capacity reduction at Dubai. So perhaps it is understandable that Air France is not being able to find enough seats for everyone to fly to Mumbai in one go. Remember, Jet Airways had at least 5 flights from Mumbai to Dubai, so about 800+ seats and that capacity is not available at the moment.
Has any of our readers been affected by the AF 218 diversion? We’d like to know the other side of the story.