Air Astana plane lands safely after emergency over Portugal

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — An Air Astana plane with six crew on board and no passengers declared an emergency over Portugal on Sunday after experiencing problems with its command and control system but landed safely just over an hour later, a senior Portuguese Air Force officer said.

Lt. Gen. Manuel Costa told The Associated Press the plane, made by Brazilian manufacturer Embraer, landed at Beja air base, about 180 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Lisbon, on Sunday afternoon.

He said nobody was hurt in the incident, though the plane was unable to land on its first attempt at Beja.

Two Portuguese Air Force F-16s were scrambled to accompany the plane while authorities initially evaluated how to handle the emergency, he said.

Air Astana is the flag carrier of Kazakhstan. The plane can seat around 100 people.

Portuguese media reports said the plane was in Portugal for maintenance work and took off around 1430 GMT from an airfield at Alverca, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) northwest of the capital Lisbon.