MUMBAI, India – It took nearly 12 hours to move a Lufthansa aircraft stuck in the tarmac of Mumbai airport on Friday night.
The aircraft, carrying 163 passengers from Munich, got stuck around 10.50pm after its landing gear failed. And it sat on the airport’s main runway till next morning, disrupting operations.
At least four flights, including the Lufthansa return flight to Munich, were cancelled.
These included a flight each of Air India and United Airlines bound to Newark. The Singapore Airlines Airbus 380 to Singapore was also cancelled. All these were twin aisle aircraft with seating capacity of at least 250 passengers and required the main runway for take off.
According to airport sources, the German carrier approached Jet Airways for help around 7am on Saturday.
While airport officials did not comment on the delay, a Jet Airways spokesperson confirmed that the airline’s engineers began the rescue work in the morning.
“Jet Airways was approached by Lufthansa today (Saturday) morning requesting help to shift their aircraft from the runway. A 15-member team from Jet Airways engineering was mobilized at around 8.30am along with equipment and spares to rectify the landing gear,” the spokesperson said.
The first look at the Airbus A330, a twin-aisle aircraft with a passenger capacity to seat 240-odd fliers, showed that all the tires had ruptured and the landing gear was stuck on the tarmac. The plane’s braking system was also damaged.
“Our primary task was to lift the plane so that the damaged tires could be removed. It took a few hours to fix the aircraft jack and lift the jumbo,” an aircraft maintenance engineer from Jet’s team.