Technical glitch not fire forced Sudan plane landing: ministry

A technical problem with an engine of a Sudanese airliner flying to Saudi Arabia forced it to make an emergency landing Wednesday, the aviation ministry said, after initially reporting the plane had suffered a fire.

The jet carrying 125 people and operated by Badr Airlines landed safely in the Sudanese city of Port Sudan, the ministry and airline said in separate statements.

"A technical problem in the left engine caused a shortage of oxygen in the aircraft and passengers had to use oxygen masks," ministry spokesman Abdelhafiz Abdelrahim told AFP.

"The captain noticed changes in the (flight) indicators and decided to make an emergency landing. I want to correct to say that there was no fire in the engine."

The ministry earlier said that the aircraft's left engine had caught fire and caused the emergency landing.

Badr Airlines said flight J4662 from Khartoum to Jeddah had to make an emergency landing an hour after taking off from the Sudanese capital.

"The plane landed safely. There was no fire in the engine," it said in a statement, adding that it later sent another plane to transport passengers to Jeddah.

Badr Airlines is a privately owned company operating since 2004 and is engaged in passenger and cargo transportation. It also provides chartered flights.

The airline's cargo planes have regularly transported humanitarian aid for the World Food Programme, UNICEF and other international aid agencies, the company says on its website.

Apart from flights across Sudan, Badr Airlines operates regular flights to Cairo, Jeddah and Juba, the capital of neighbouring South Sudan.

Accidents are common among Sudan's ageing fleet of aircraft, and many countries ban several Sudanese airlines for safety reasons.

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