AirAsia confirmed that no passengers were harmed in the incident on Thursday night when the airline's flight en route from Male' to Bangkok performed an emergency landing at Velana International Airport (VIA) due to an engine malfunction.
AirAsia's Safety Head Captain Ling Liong Tien told Malaysia's The Star Online that the pilot requested a priority landing at VIA following standard operating procedures, due to a technical problem encountered during take-off.
"The aircraft landed safely at 2041 hrs local time and underwent an engineering assessment in Male'", he said.
He assured that pilots of AirAsia were well trained for such situations.
"Our pilots are well-trained to manage these types of incidents and while those on board may have heard a loud bang, there was never any immediate risk to passenger safety", he added.
Witnesses state that one of the engines caught fire with a loud noise following take-off. However, when the plane landed 22 minutes after departure, there was no sign of the fire. By this time, the airport was prepared for an emergency situation.
According to AirAsia, all the passengers in the airplane were sent off to their destinations on alternative flights later that day. Most of the passengers were tourists leaving the country after vacation while eight locals were on board.