Air France A340 Makes Thrilling Emergency Landing In Iran Following Ventilation Issues

An Air France Flight, operated by Joon, traveling from Paris to Mumbai has made an emergency landing in Iran. Following reported issues with the ventilation system, the jet requested emergency clearance and set down in Shahid Beheshti International Airport in Isfahan, Iran. Passengers are unhurt but, at the time of publishing, are now stuck in Dubai still waiting to make their way to Mumbai.

F-GLZP had to make an emergency landing in Iran. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

What happened?

Air France flight number AF218 was operating a nine hour nonstop flight between Paris CDG and Mumbai. The aircraft was an A340-300 registered F-GLZP and operated by low cost subsidiary Joon.

Leaving Paris at 11:21am, just a few minutes behind schedule, the flight proceeded as normal until, passing over Iran, there was a deviation. There was panic at one point as the aircraft appeared to turn off its intended flight path, descend and then disappear from radar.

However, fears were allayed when reports began to come in that, in fact, the plane had landed safely at Shahid Beheshti International Airport in Isfahan, Iran, due to a problem with the ventilation.

Air France emergency landing
AF218 flight path showing the emergency landing in Iran. Image: FlightRadar24

According to reports by Fox News, officials of the airline said that the plane,

“decided to divert to Isfahan airport (Iran) following a malfunction of the ventilation system, in line with the manufacturer’s procedures and in accordance with the precautionary principle.”

A Twitter user, Gerjon, notes that this is also a military base in Iran, and that some Hercules and fighter jets can be seen on Google Maps imagery.

Stuck in Iran?

When we heard the news that the plane had landed in Iran, we at Simple Flying were somewhat concerned that this might have been a bigger problem for Joon than they first thought. Regular readers will remember all the headaches poor Norwegian had when their 737 had to make an emergency landing in Iran.

Norwegian 737
A Norwegian 737 MAX was stranded in Iran for several weeks. Photo: Norwegian

However, with this being an Airbus, any parts would have come from Europe, which isn’t subject to the same sanctions as US produced parts were in the case of the Boeing plane. As it happened, the repair process appears to have gone relatively smoothly.

According to the Fox News report, the airline said that ‘technical checks’ were undertaken by ‘on-site maintenance teams’, allowing the jet to take off again. It left the airport for Al Maktoum International Dubai Airport at around 11pm.

AF218 onwards journey
AF218 continued on to DWC after several hours on the tarmac in Iran. Image: FlightRadar24

What about the passengers?

Although the delay was relatively long, with the Joon aircraft sitting at Shahid Beheshti International Airport for several hours, the carrier clearly felt it was not worth sending a replacement aircraft for them.

According to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, all 267 passengers were ‘safe and sound’ and were taken care of by local authorities during their unexpected stop in the country. Unfortunately for them, it seems they were not allowed to disembark the aircraft, which must have been painful.

However, the delay in Iran wasn’t the end of their problems. Once the plane took off again, instead of heading to its original destination of Mumbai, it routed to Dubai. And not Dubai DXB, where there are regular connections to Mumbai, but to the newer DWC, where they have been waiting ever since.

At the time of writing, it appears the passengers have been transferred to DXB where they are being ‘waitlisted’ for an onward connection. Passengers, understandably, are not at all happy.

Air France are being called out over their poor handling of the situation, in particular the lack of communication between the airline, its passengers and friends / relatives of passengers who don’t know what’s happening.

Of course, everyone will be entitled to their €600 compensation payment, but some feel it’s just not enough.

We sincerely hope all passengers are transferred to Mumbai as soon as possible.