Swedish tourists grounded after emergency landing

A charter plane from Thailand with 356 Scandinavian tourists onboard was forced to make an emergency landing in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday after a fault was discovered in an engine.

Just one week ago, the same plane was affected by a fault in the rudder system.

On this occasion, the pilot successfully landed the Novair plane in Sharja with with only one of the two engines working.

“The captain felt vibrations and for safety reasons he shut down the motor so that it wouldn’t shake itself apart,” said Anders Fred, the managing director of Novair.

The fault with the motor was discovered after the plane had refuelled during a scheduled stop in Dubai. The journey between Dubai and Sharja, where the motor was shut down, took around 30 minutes.

54 of the plane’s passengers were heading for Arlanda. The rest were on their way to Copenhagen.

“The passengers will be delayed by around 12 hours. We have put them up at a hotell in Sharja until another plane can come and pick them up,” said Fred.

Last Saturday, the same plane was affected by a technical fault during the stop in Dubai. Then, around 350 passengers were forced to wait almost two days in a hotel while a new computer was installed.

“But that was a completely different fault. Then it was a rudder problem,” explained Anders Fred, who said he did not consider the Airbus A330 to be a particularly problematic type of plane.

The 356 passengers, who were expected home on Sunday afternoon, had booked their trips through the charter companies My Travel, Fritidsresor and Apollo.

Novair, which has five Airbus planes in its fleet, is owned by the Swiss company Kuoni Scandinavia.


Sweden launches bid to become world’s top tourism destination by 2030

Forget the pyramids, the canals of Venice or the Eiffel Tower – the Swedish government has presented a plan to make Sweden the world's most attractive tourism destination by 2030 – but it's not yet clear how.

Sweden launches bid to become world's top tourism destination by 2030
Many tourists are attracted to Sweden because of its nature. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

In a press conference on Monday, Sweden’s Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation Ibrahim Baylan outlined the new strategy, which aims to make Sweden “the world’s most sustainable and attractive tourism destination built on innovation” by 2030.

Baylan referred to Sweden as a country which “is usually ranked as one of the world’s most innovative countries”, which he argued can “create value for the tourism industry”.

According to Baylan, the strategy builds on “sustainability’s three dimensions – it has to be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable”. The strategy will also “tie into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030”, he said.

Topics covered by the new tourism strategy include the climate impact of tourism, equality and inclusion in the tourism industry and the importance of preserving shared resources such as national parks and sustainable nature tourism such as fishing and hunting.

The press release highlights the importance of natural tourism, explaining that the pandemic has led to people visiting natural and cultural environments “to a greater extent than before”, increasing wear and tear to natural areas.

DISCOVER SWEDEN: The Local’s guide to Sweden’s top destinations and hidden gems

Tourism is an important industry for Sweden, providing employment in both urban and rural areas, as well as generating wealth – before the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism industry represented on average 2.7 percent of Sweden’s GDP per year. The tourism industry also employs a high amount of people from foreign backgrounds – making up over a third (34 percent) of all employees in the industry.

During the pandemic, overnight stays declined in almost every Swedish municipality, with the biggest declines seen in Sweden’s larger cities and border municipalitites.

The government’s plans also include a focus on jobs and skill development, so that workers have the right qualifications for the industry – this reflects issues currently faced by the restaurant and hotel industry in finding skilled workers in the wake of the pandemic. 

There are currently no details as to how the government will achieve this strategy, or indeed how it will measure success. But Sweden is aiming high if it wants to be the world’s most attractive tourist destination by 2030. In 2019, it was ranked the 54th top tourist destination in the world by the UN World Tourism Organisation.