An AirAsia flight departing from Velana International Airport (VIA) to Bangkok, Thailand, returned after the plane caught fire on Thursday evening.
According to local media Mihaaru, witnesses claimed that an engine of the plane was on fire when it took flight. The aircraft landed at VIA around 2040 hours, approximately 20 minutes after takeoff.
This is the first such incident at VIA in recent history.
No passengers or crew were harmed in the incident. Mihaaru cited a passenger as saying that the fire was put out while the plane was airborne prior to its return. The pilot reportedly informed all passengers of the situation before landing.
The majority of the passengers were foreigners.
Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed and other ministry officials arrived at the airport soon after the incident. The ministry assured that lodgings at reclaimed suburb Hulhumale' were being provided for the tourists who were onboard.
The airline is yet to disclose the cause of the fire.
AirAsia operates direct flights from Maldives to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The airline is a popular carrier among Maldivians, many of whom travel to Thailand and Malaysia for business, vacation and education.