At least 4 flights to Singapore diverted to Batam due to poor weather

Channel NewsAsia 23 Dec 16;

SINGAPORE: At least four flights bound for Singapore were diverted to Batam on Thursday (Dec 22) due to poor weather.

A spokesperson for Singapore Airlines (SIA) confirmed that two of its flights were diverted to Batam's Hang Nadim Airport on Thursday. SQ256 from Brisbane with 289 passengers on board landed in Batam at 5.07pm, and SQ631 from Tokyo (Haneda) carrying 259 passengers arrived in Batam at 5.44pm.

Passengers on board both flights remained onboard the aircraft while at Batam, SIA said.

"After refuelling was completed, SQ256 departed Batam at 6.12pm and arrived at Singapore Changi Airport at 7.48pm. SQ631 departed Batam at 7.20pm and arrived in Singapore at 8.50pm," SIA said.

A check on flight tracker FlightAware showed that SQ256 was meant to arrive at Changi Airport at about 3.10pm, while SQ631 was scheduled to land in Singapore at about 3.20pm on Thursday.

Tigerair flight TR2063 from Hong Kong was also diverted to Batam on Thursday "due to inclement weather in Singapore", according to a spokesperson for the airline.

"The aircraft, carrying 147 guests, departed for Singapore within an hour of landing in Batam, landing in Singapore at 5.41pm," Tigerair said.

According to FlightAware, TR2063 was scheduled to land in Singapore at about 3pm.

SilkAir flight MI8163 from Siem Reap was also diverted to Hang Nadim Airport on Thursday due to "inclement weather conditions" in Singapore. The flight with 131 passengers on board arrived in Batam at 3.08pm. It departed the island at 5.28pm and arrived at Changi Airport at 7.19pm, a spokesperson for the airline said.

Flight tracker Flightradar24 stated that MI8163 was meant to arrive in Singapore at about 3.35pm.

- CNA/dl

Bad weather at Changi Airport forces flights to Batam
Fadli Fadli The Jakarta Post 23 Dec 16;

Bad weather in Singapore forced Changi Airport to divert four flights from Hong Kong, Australia, Thailand and Japan to Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam, Riau Islands, on Thursday.

The planes waited in Batam for more than four hours until the weather permitted them to land in Changi.

The first flight, a Tiger Air flight from Hong Kong, landed in Batam at 2:29 p.m. The other flights were a Singapore Airlines flight from Brisbane, a Silk Air flight from Thailand and a Singapore Airlines flight from Tokyo.

Hang Nadim’s general manager Suwarso said Friday that Batam also saw heavy rainfall but the weather was worse in Singapore with strong winds.

The close location of Batam makes Hang Nadim an alternative to Changi in such emergency situations, he said.

“The diversion to Batam is a regular thing,” he said.

The passengers did not leave the plane and waited for three to four hours for the weather to improve. (evi)


Bad weather forces flights to wait it out in Batam
Tiffany Fumiko Tay and Wahyudhi Soeriaatmadja, Straits Times AsiaOne 24 Dec 16;

Four Singapore-bound flights were diverted to the Indonesian island of Batam on Thursday due to inclement weather in the city state.

One of the most dramatic involved a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight from Tokyo which landed at Changi Airport on Thursday evening, more than five hours behind schedule.

The flight, which was scheduled to land at Changi Airport at 3.25pm, eventually arrived at 8.50pm.

It was the last of the four to land.

SQ631, which departed from Tokyo's Haneda Airport at 7.46am Singapore time, made three attempted landings at Changi Airport before diverting to Hang Nadim airport in Batam to refuel, SIA said in response to queries.

Civil servant Mohammad Ismail, who was on board with his family, including two children aged five and 10, said the failed landing attempts had caused concern, though passengers remained calm.

There were 259 passengers on board.

PAYA LEBAR OPTION NOT POSSIBLE

"The first attempt almost touched the runway, then it ascended like a take off and we shot up past the clouds," said Mr Ismail, 35. "Through the window you could see the dark clouds, rainwater and flashes of lightning."

After circling and making two more attempts, the pilot announced that they would be trying to land at Paya Lebar Air Base due to the bad weather, though this too was called off as conditions there were no better.

The plane then headed for Batam, landing at about 2.50pm local time before waiting three hours for a parking bay, the SIA spokesman said.

The wait in Batam was tedious, and passengers were left hungry as only drinks were served, but "but we passed around some biscuits that were souvenirs from Japan", said Mr Ismail.

The airline crew did their best and handled the situation professionally, he added.

The other diverted flights were a Tigerair flight from Hong Kong, an SIA flight from Brisbane and a SilkAir flight from Siem Reap.

They arrived in Batam before the SQ631 flight, according to local authority BP Batam. All passengers stayed on the planes at Hang Nadim airport while waiting out the bad weather in Changi, it said.

A Changi Airport Group spokesman said decisions regarding flight diversions and landings are left to the sole discretion of the pilot and his airline.

Dynasty Travel's director of marketing communications, Ms Alicia Seah, said flight delays are common during the year-end holiday season because of weather conditions and an increased number of flights.

"Safety is the priority. At the end of the day, if it's not safe to land, it's better not to," she said.

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