Air India flight AI-173 took off from Delhi the previous Tuesday morning but was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Magadan after a 13-year-old Boeing 777–200 suffered a malfunction in one of its two GE90 engines.
< p>As a result, “Boeing” with 216 passengers landed in Magadan at 14:00 local time due to technical problems.
Air India said in a statement that it had made every possible attempt to accommodate 216 passengers and 16 crew members in hotels, but in there were practically no empty seats in the city that day.
“Given the infrastructure constraints around the remote airport, we have moved all passengers to temporary accommodation,” a spokesman for the carrier said. Everyone had to be placed in a regular high school right on the floor of the gym and in the classrooms.
The airline said it contacted the Indian Consulate General in Vladivostok, as it does not have its own staff in the region.
“All ground support provided to passengers is the best possible under these unusual circumstances,” Air India added.
An alternate flight was expected to leave for Magadan on Wednesday afternoon to pick up the stranded passengers and crew, although the airline warned that much was subject to “regulatory approvals”.
The plane left Mumbai around 3:30 p.m. and went to Russia. Planned landing time in Magadan is 07:15 am Thursday.
"All of us at Air India care about our passengers and staff and are working hard to complete the flight as soon as possible and ensure the health, safety and security of everyone while we wait".
The unscheduled landing of a U.S.-bound flight in Russia comes just a day after United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby criticized Air India for flying over Russia in the midst of events in Ukraine.
Kirby warned that an unscheduled stop in Russia could allegedly put US citizens, especially media celebrities or politicians, at risk.
Air India does not disclose information about the passengers who were on board the AI-173.
Along with the logistical problems associated with the evacuation of passengers and crew from Magadan, Air India will also have to decide how it will repair the broken Boeing 777 – Western sanctions prevent the import of imported spare parts into Russia.