COLOMBO - A Sri Lankan Airlines flight that took off from Singapore's Changi Airport was made to return to Singapore "due to security reasons" soon after take-off, according to a statement from the airline on Friday (April 15).
The statement, posted on the airline's website, said flight UL309, which took off on Thursday (April 14), later arrived in Sri Lankan capital Colombo past midnight on Friday after being delayed for three hours.
The airline said Singapore's police force requested for a number of passengers to disembark for questioning.
Prior to take-off, the police had already detained five passengers for questioning, the statement said.
Here is the full statement posted by the airline on its website:
"SriLankan Airlines flight UL 309 of April 14, 2016 was instructed to return to Changi International Airport due to security reasons soon after it was airborne to Colombo. The flight later arrived in Colombo at 0042 hrs on April 15, 2016 with a total delay of 3 hours.
"Upon its return to Singapore, the airport division of the Singapore Police Force requested that all check-in luggage was screened once more and also interviewed a few passengers. Accordingly, all baggage was offloaded and sent for security screening.
"Further, the Airport Police requested SriLankan Airlines to offload 3 additional passengers for further questioning. This was in addition to 5 passengers who were initially detained for interrogation before the flight departed.
"In order to avoid further delays SriLankan decided to offload the family members of the two passengers offloaded for interviewing and baggage identification by the Airport Police.
"SriLankan provided accommodation for all these passengers, who later flew to Colombo on UL 307 of April 15, 2016.
"The five passengers, originally offloaded are still being detained by the Airport Police division. Passengers on board the aircraft were kept informed of the situation and were cared for by the SriLankan staff.
"The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore is yet to disclose the reasons that led to the recall of flight UL 309.
"However, SriLankan Airlines is in the process of requesting for a comprehensive report, as ideally all necessary inspections should be completed by airport authorities prior to releasing an aircraft for departure.
"The airline commends its team in Singapore and the crew of UL 309 for handling the situation in a professional manner.
"SriLankan wishes to reiterate that this incident was beyond the control of the Airline and that SriLankan always maintains the highest safety standards. The Airline considers the safety and security of customers its foremost priority, under no circumstances will this be compromised."