SINGAPORE: On Nov 11 (Saturday), a video was posted on YouTube showing what happened on Singapore Airlines Flight SQ319 from London to Changi Airport, which made an emergency landing in Batam on Oct 25, 2022.
The video titled, “’We MUST Land NOW!!’ The Incredible Story of Singapore Airlines Flight 319′” by the Mentour Pilot YouTube channel highlights that the most pressing concern was the aircraft’s fuel levels had grown critically low, causing the pilots to declare a fuel emergency long before the plane landed. To add to the pilots’ stress, they received a message saying they were not permitted to land in Batam because they had not reached out to the air traffic control tower in Batam to obtain clearance for the plane’s intended landing.
The aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER, had left London on Oct 24. Should the need arise, its listed alternate destination airports were Paya Lebar Air Base (Singapore), Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and Senai International Airport (Johor).
As it turned out, the weather conditions in Singapore were not good at the time of the flight’s scheduled landing, so the aircraft could not land. The pilots decided to land at Batam, which had not been on the list of alternate destinations. Weather conditions over Batam, while clear at first, grew worse later. Rain over Paya Lebar Air Base and Senai International Airport meant the plane couldn’t land in these areas either.
It took the plane four tries before it landed safely. Fortunately, each of the 280 people on board arrived at Batam safely, and no harm was done to the aircraft.
And while the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is quoted in The Straits Times as saying that there had been shortcomings in handling the flight, Mr Alan Foo, senior director of the safety regulation group at CAAS said that no regulatory breaches had been committed by SIA, even though the “final reserve fuel,” the minimum amount required for an aircraft to stay airborne safely had been below level when the aircraft landed in Batam.
The YouTube channel Mentour Pilot belongs to Mr Petter Hörnfeldt. He often tells the stories of notable aviation accidents and incidents. Mr Hörnfeldt’s account of the story is based on the final report of the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau of Singapore’s Ministry of Transport, published on Sept 25, which can be accessed here.