An Emirates flight in Russia was forced to return to the gate after smoke began pouring from its rear just moments before takeoff. Fire appliances were seen spraying the smoking Boeing 777 ahead of a flight from St Petersburg to Dubai on Friday.
‘Smoke came from an aircraft engine at St Petersburg Pulkovo airport,’ said a Russian emergency services official. Flight EK176 from St Petersburg to Dubai on 30 June 2023 returned to the stand due to reports of smoke being detected during pushback for departure,’ said an Emirates spokesperson. As a precaution, all passengers and crew were disembarked while the aircraft was attended by the local authorities and fire services.’
The cause of the smoke – evidently linked to the plane’s rear auxiliary power unit rather than a main engine on the wing – was not disclosed. A total of 228 passengers and 15 crew were disembarked. The Boeing 777 eventually took off some five hours late and arrived safely in Dubai at around 11.30 am local time following a six-and-a-half-hour flight.
The airline spokesperson said: ‘Passengers were reboarded after inspections were completed and the aircraft departed with a delay. We apologise for the inconvenience. The safety of our passengers and cabin crew is of utmost importance and it will not be compromised.’
Emirates has continued to operate flights to and from Russia despite Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, which has seen Western airlines cancel all services to the country. Western sanctions relating to the aircraft industry have hit Russia’s ability to service and repair planes.