An emergency landing on Saturday morning left a Lufthansa A350-900 stranded in Luanda, the capital of Angola, where it is currently waiting for a new multi-million dollar engine before it can depart.
On a trip from Cape Town to Munich on Saturday, the five-year-old aircraft made a detour to Luanda after the pilots reported problems with the left-hand engine.
The aircraft completed a safe approach and landing at Luanda’s Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport after making four circles over the city’s coast to burn off extra fuel and lighten the load.
Some stories state that the pilots then attempted to take off from Luanda before announcing an emergency and parking the plane back at the main terminal.
The 271 passengers on board were informed that they would have to spend the night in Angola at this point when the flight was canceled.
Thankfully, Lufthansa still offers direct flights to Luanda from its hub in Frankfurt, despite the fact that several major airlines no longer offer service there. However, there won’t be another flight to Frankfurt until late on Monday night, therefore some passengers are being rebooked on other flights out of Luanda.
In addition to not responding right away to a request for comment regarding the event, Lufthansa hasn’t offered any additional information regarding how long its Airbus A350 would be stuck in Luanda.
To investigate the problem and determine whether a new engine is indeed needed, the airline sent its own engineers to Angola on Monday’s regularly scheduled flight.
A spokeswoman for Lufthansa told in a statement that the aircraft conducted an emergency landing as a “precautionary action.”
This was caused by a technical issue with an Airbus A350-900 engine display. When it came time to land, the cockpit crew made the precautionary decision to switch off one engine and land in Luanda first.
Safety on board “was not jeopardized at any moment,” according to the airline.
All 271 of the passengers on the flight were “booked by Lufthansa into hotels in the area and were cared after round-the-clock by Lufthansa staff.”
Engineers have found signs of wear in the Intermediate Pressure Compressor of Trent XWB engines on the A350-900, and Rolls-Royce revealed the issue with these engines in 2020.
Although Rolls-Royce claimed it had never encountered any “abnormal in-flight functioning,” the issue appeared to affect aircraft that had been in service for four or five years.