Singapore Airlines A350 Diverts To Moscow With Unwell Crew Member

A Singapore Airlines flight from Copenhagen to Singapore diverted to Moscow on Saturday after a crew member was taken ill. The flight departed Moscow later the same day, leaving the crew member in Russia. The airline is helping the crew member return to Singapore once his health permits.

Singapore Airlines A350 Diverts To Moscow With Unwell Crew Member
A Singapore Airlines A350 diverted to Russia after a crew member was taken ill. Photo: Getty Images

What happened?

The Airbus A350-941, registration 9V-SMO, departed Copenhagen on Saturday for a 12-hour flight to Singapore. After departing at 13:51 local time, the aircraft flew for just over three hours before requesting a landing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport at around 18:00 local time.

The reason for the request was reportedly a medical emergency involving one of the crew members. A medical team prepared to meet the aircraft in case urgent care was needed. Upon landing in Russia, the crew member was taken straight to a hospital, where he was treated by doctors.

The aircraft managed to leave Russia after just a few hours at 20:01. Just under ten hours later, the flight finally landed in Singapore. However, the crew member remained behind in Russia. According to Russian media reports of the incident, the crew member had a “hypertensive crisis”, or a stroke.

Singapore Airlines A350 Diverts To Moscow With Unwell Crew Member
The flight diverted to Moscow after just three hours in the sky. The return flight left Moscow a few hours later leaving the crew member behind. Graphic:

According to a statement from Singapore Airlines, the crew member was “discharged after his condition stabilised and arrangements have been made to fly him back to Singapore.” 

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Singapore Airlines and Copenhagen

The incident happened onboard an A350 operating a flight from Copenhagen, something we will likely be seeing more of. In this case, the aircraft was operating a long-haul flight back to Singapore. However, in the future, passengers could fly a Singapore Airlines A350 on a short-haul flight.

The airline recently announced the launch of fifth-freedom flights connecting Copenhagen to Rome. Launching later this month, the flight to Copenhagen will be followed by a flight to Rome and back before the return flight to Singapore.

Singapore Airlines A350 Diverts To Moscow With Unwell Crew Member
Passengers will be able to enjoy the comfort of the A350 widebody on a short-haul route. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

An A350 short-haul

The new flight means passengers can experience the A350 on a short-haul route. The airline has over 50 A350s in service, with only a few still parked, and they are all fairly new. The aircraft have an average age of under three years. Each aircraft is configured with a premium economy that will likely be popular on this new route and 40 lie-flat business class seats.

The result is that passengers can have a widebody experience on a route typically flown by narrowbodies. We’ve certainly had some good experiences with Singapore Airlines A350s, which offers an excellent menu. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how popular the route becomes and how it impacts competitor airlines on this route. Current competitors are Ryanair and Norwegian.

Have you ever traveled on a widebody for a short-haul flight? Let us know in the comments.