A Lufthansa A350-900 is stranded in the Angolan capital Luanda and is awaiting a new multi-million-dollar engine before it can go anywhere after an emergency landing on Saturday morning.
The five-year-old aircraft diverted to Luanda during a flight from Cape Town to Munich on Saturday after the pilots reported issues with the left-hand engine.
After circling the coast of Luanda four times to burn off excess fuel and reduce the weight, the aircraft made a safe approach and landing at the city’s Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport.
According to some reports, the pilots then attempted to take off from Luanda before declaring an emergency while the aircraft was still on the ground and returning to the main terminal.
At this point, the flight was scrapped and the 271 passengers onboard were told they would have to stay overnight in Angola.
While many international airlines no longer service Luanda, thankfully, Lufthansa does still operate direct flights to the city from its Frankfurt hub. The next flight to Frankfurt won’t, however, depart until late on Monday night and some passengers are being rebooked on other services out of Luanda.
Lufthansa did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident, and the airline has not provided any more details on how long its Airbus A350 could be stranded in Luanda.
The airline has sent its own engineers to Angola on Monday’s regularly scheduled service so that they can assess the situation and decide whether a new engine is, in fact, required.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Lufthansa told us the aircraft made an unscheduled landing as a “precautionary measure”.
“The reason for this was a technical irregularity in an engine display of the Airbus A350-900. The cockpit crew then decided to shut down one engine for landing as a precaution and to land in Luanda with priority status.”
The airline explained that “safety on board was not compromised at any time.”
All 271 passengers onboard the flight were “booked into hotels in the vicinity by Lufthansa and were looked after around the clock by Lufthansa staff.”
“All passengers were rebooked within 48 hours: The first passengers already on Saturday, the remaining passengers fly today with LH561 via Frankfurt to their destinations.”
In 2020, engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce revealed a problem with its Trent XWB engines on the A350-900 whereby engineers had identified indications of wear in the Intermediate Pressure Compressor.
The problem seemed to affect aircraft that had been in service for four or five years, although Rolls-Royce said it had never experienced any “abnormal in-flight operation”.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.