SQ relief flight from Bangkok arrives in Singapore at 5am, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

SQ relief flight from Bangkok arrives in Singapore at 5am

Passengers who were on flight SQ321 arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 2 at about 5am on May 22, with almost all briskly escorted out of the baggage collection area by SIA staff.

There were hugs and some tears as they reunited with worried family members and loved ones, and airport staff or personnel wearing Singapore Airlines vests ushered them to the arrival pick-up point, bus bay or T2 carpark.

Their uneventful departure from the airport was a stark contrast to the ordeal that the passengers had experienced the day before, when SQ321 experienced sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin about 10 hours after departing from London. The turbulence caused one death and injured dozens of passengers, and the pilot made an emergency landing at Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

SIA said in a Facebook post on May 22 that 131 passengers and 12 crew members who were on board SQ321 arrived in Singapore via a relief flight at 5.05am. They were received by SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong.

Another 79 passengers and six crew members from SQ321 remain in Bangkok, said SIA. This includes those receiving medical care, as well as their family members and loved ones who were on the flight.

According to data from flight tracker FlightRadar24, the relief flight that the brought the passengers from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Changi Airport – SQ9071 – left Bangkok at about 3.10am, Singapore time.

Earlier on May 21, the same Airbus A350 had taken off from Singapore’s Changi Airport at about 9pm in Singapore time. Flights between the two cities take about 2½ hours on average.

At about 1am, Changi Airport staff set up barricades in the T2 arrival hall to guide arriving passengers from the baggage collection area’s exit either to the private-hire car pick up point, or bus bay and carpark.

The barricades occupied about half the hall’s area, with next of kin and those who knew the passengers allowed past the cordon while the media and other members of the public were kept out.

After SQ9071 arrived, the first passenger was spotted leaving the arrival hall at about 5.15am.

Some passengers began boarding two buses which bore Terminal 4 shuttle bus livery, while others went to the pick-up point where a row of taxis was lined up.

The first bus – which was not fully filled – left at close to 5.30am, with subsequent buses coming and leaving as and when a handful of passengers and escorts from SIA boarded. It is not known where the buses were headed to.

SIA said it has arranged transportation to bring passengers to their homes or hotels in Singapore. For passengers with onward connections, the airline has rebooked alternative flights for them and arranged hotel accommodation or lounge access for them until their next flight.

One passenger hugged her loved one for at least two minutes upon entering the arrival hall from the baggage collection area.

Another passenger, who was asked by the media if she was injured as she walked to the taxi stand, replied: “No, we were very lucky.”

There was a man with a cut on his left elbow, while a woman was pushed out of the arrival hall in a wheelchair.

At about 5.50am, the airport staff started removing the barricades after all the passengers had left.