A burning smell on a Tigerair flight that was consequently diverted to Ho Chi Minh City on Friday has been traced to a faulty ventilation fan, the budget carrier said yesterday.
The affected passengers have been flown back to Singapore on a ferry flight, landing at about 3.30am yesterday.
Tigerair said in a statement that flight TR2993 was carrying 163 passengers from Taipei to Singapore on Friday. The plane was scheduled to land in Singapore at 6.55pm, but the flight was diverted to Ho Chi Minh City due to a burning smell in the cabin.
It landed in the city's Tan Son Nhat International Airport at 4.48pm (Singapore time), according to Internet flight tracking service FlightAware.
The aircraft has since been serviced and is being flown back to Singapore.
Tigerair said refreshments were provided to the affected passengers in Ho Chi Minh City.
"We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused. Safety is of utmost importance to Tigerair and we will spare no effort in ensuring the well-being of our guests," it added.
A passenger on the plane, Mr Chua Heng Tiong, 54, who is self-employed, told The Sunday Times yesterday that he got home at about 4am.
He added that passengers waited around eight hours, from 5pm on Friday to 1am on Saturday, for a flight back to Singapore.
"At first we were told to wait and were told it was a technical issue. They gave us dinner and directed us to (stay in) the canteen to wait."
He said he felt it was not "a very ideal handling of the situation", as "nobody knew the time of the flight" back to Singapore and he had to call Singapore to find out.
However, another passenger, Mr Lam Wai Oon, praised the Tigerair crew, especially the pilot, for their calm handling of the situation.
The 45-year-old engineer, who had never experienced such an incident before, said: "I was sitting at the fourth row and could smell something burning. The pilot was so cool in managing the entire emergency descent and the air crew acted as calm as possible.
"To be honest, I was prepared for the worst."
But Mr Lam added that the captain consistently told passengers what to expect, including not to be worried if they saw fire engines on standby on the landing tarmac.
"Even though it was a situation that nobody wanted to happen or can predict, the whole crew led by the captain were very professional."
Mr Lam added that the passengers on board generally did not make "unreasonable requests".