World

Airline passengers create stink over durian cargo

JAKARTA A cargo of pungent durian led an Indonesian plane to be delayed for an hour after passengers turned their noses up and refused to fly.

Passengers booked on a Sriwijaya Air flight from Bengkulu province in Sumatra to Jakarta on Monday complained to staff after smelling the fruit and refused to get on the plane.

A journalist with Indonesia's Antara news agency who was on the plane reported that several passengers began arguing with flight attendants and almost came to blows.

Passengers then left the aircraft, refusing to fly unless the fruit was removed.

The airline said it was carrying more than two tonnes of the fruit but insisted they posed no danger to the flight, adding the smell would dissipate once the aircraft took off.

"We made the necessary precautions, such as putting in pandan leaves and coffee powder to absorb the durian smell," an official told national television station Kompas TV.

Staff finally unloaded the fruit and the plane took off an hour later, reaching Jakarta safely. - AFP

WORLD