An Emirates Airbus A380-800 takes off from San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, February 13, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
An Emirates A380 plane with more than 500 people on board made an emergency landing in Sri Lanka on Friday after pilots detected smoke in the cockpit, aviation officials said.
The aircraft, which landed safely in Colombo, was 320 nautical miles (around 600 kilometres) east of the city when pilots made a distress call.
"The pilots said May Day, May Day, and we activated all our emergency services and brought the aircraft to a safe landing," the airport's chief air navigation services officer Crishanthi Tissera told AFP.
She said the pilots reported smoke in the cockpit, leading airport managers to place firefighters and medical units on standby.
The plane landed 39 minutes after the first distress call and all 471 passengers and 30 crew disembarked safely.
A statement from the airline said the plane had suffered a "technical fault" and was diverted to Colombo, without giving details.
Emirates carried out its first A380 landing in Colombo in 2012, but the airport has yet to be upgraded to handle the biggest passenger airliner.
The airline said passengers were being transferred to other Emirates flights.