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Malaysia Airlines flight turns back due to autopilot defect

Charles Pertwee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A Malaysian Airlines (MAS) flight from Kuala Lumpur to Hyderabad was turned back on Saturday due to a defect with the plane's auto-pilot system, the airline said in a statement.

Flight MH198 left Kuala Lumpur at 10:20 p.m. (1220 GMT) on Thursday and returned at 2:10 a.m., with all passengers and crew safe.

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"The defect did not have any impact on the safety of the aircraft or passengers, however as a precautionary measure, the operating captain decided to turn back," said MAS.

The loss-making airline has had a difficult year. Flight MH370 disappeared in March and Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July.

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Last month, MAS said it would slash nearly a third of its 20,000 workforce and cut back its global route network as part of a radical 6 billion ringgit ($1.9 billion) restructuring following the devastating impact of the two jetliner disasters.