Dangerous goods in a passenger’s bag are believed to be behind a minor incident where smoke was detected in the baggage hold of a Fiji Airways Boeing 737-800 while on the ground at Melbourne airport on 26 April.
The airline told Flightglobal that baggage handlers noted smoke emitting from a piece of baggage while it was being loaded onto the aircraft, and alerted airport firefighters and security personnel. The airport has confirmed that the aircraft, which only had the pilots and some cleaners on board at the time, was evacuated and firefighters attended to and offloaded the bag.
Airservices Australia, which operates the firefighting service, says that a “strong heat source” was emanating from the bag, while all other baggage on the flight was cleared.
The 737, registered DQ-FJH, was not damaged in the incident, but it resulted in the crew running out of hours, and forced the flight to Nadi to be rescheduled to the next day.
Fiji Airways adds that the piece of luggage in question was “found to be carrying material suspected as prohibited ‘Dangerous Goods.’”
“Fiji Airways understands that the passenger is under investigation from Australian Federal Police and other relevant Australian agencies,” says the airline’s chief executive and managing director Stefan Pichler.