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AirAsia X flight to Saudi Arabia turns back due to technical problem, lands safely in Malaysia

  • This image provided courtesy of FlightAware shows the flight path of AirAsia flight XAX172 to and from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. AirAsia X said the flight heading from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia turned back shortly after takeoff due to a technical problem, circling for hours to burn fuel before landing safely in Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/FlightAware)

    This image provided courtesy of FlightAware shows the flight path of AirAsia flight XAX172 to and from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. AirAsia X said the flight heading from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia turned back shortly after takeoff due to a technical problem, circling for hours to burn fuel before landing safely in Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/FlightAware)  (The Associated Press)

  • This image provided courtesy of FlightAware shows the flight path of Air Asia flight XAX172 to and from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. AirAsia X said the flight heading from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia turned back shortly after takeoff due to a technical problem, circling for hours to burn fuel before landing safely in Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/FlightAware)

    This image provided courtesy of FlightAware shows the flight path of Air Asia flight XAX172 to and from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. AirAsia X said the flight heading from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia turned back shortly after takeoff due to a technical problem, circling for hours to burn fuel before landing safely in Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/FlightAware)  (The Associated Press)

  • An information board shows AirAsia Flight D7172 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. AirAsia X said the flight heading from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia turned back shortly after takeoff due to a technical problem, circling for hours to burn fuel before landing safely in Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)

    An information board shows AirAsia Flight D7172 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. AirAsia X said the flight heading from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia turned back shortly after takeoff due to a technical problem, circling for hours to burn fuel before landing safely in Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)  (The Associated Press)

AirAsia X says a flight heading from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia turned back shortly after takeoff due to a technical problem, circling for hours to burn fuel before landing safely in Kuala Lumpur.

AirAsia X Group Chief Executive Kamarudin Meranun says the auto-thrust of one of the plane's engines malfunctioned about 45 minutes after take-off Sunday.

He said the pilots switched to manual thrust and could have continued the flight, but decided to turn back since it was early in the nearly 10-hour trip to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He said there was no emergency and that it was a precautionary measure.

The airline said the Airbus A330 landed safely more than five hours after take-off. It said all passengers would be transferred to another plane, which was to depart shortly.