A Lufthansa flight that burst four tyres on landing at Mumbai airport on Friday evening remained stuck in the middle of the main runway for 15 hours, preventing other large aircraft from taking off and forcing other airlines to cancel international flights.
Lufthansa flight LH764, an A330-300 carrying 223 passengers from Munich, apparently landed heavily. A passenger reported a small fire in the landing gear, which was foamed by airport emergency services on landing, the Aviation Herald reported.
Larger aircraft require Mumbai Airport’s longer main runway for takeoff. The airport was forced to switch all operations to the secondary runway while the Lufthansa A330’s tyres were replaced and the plane was towed off the runway.
At least four flights had to be cancelled, the Hindustan Times reported, including the return Lufthansa flight LH-765. Passengers were taken to hotels. Other cancellations included US-bound Air India and United Airlines flights and a Singapore Airlines A380 service to Singapore.
The paper said the aircraft landed at about 10.50pm Friday but crew did not approach Jet Airways and ask for help until about 7am on Saturday morning.
Airport officials did not comment on the delay, but a Jet Airways spokesperson confirmed to the Hindustan Times that the airline’s engineers began work on Saturday 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 mobilised at around 8.30am along with equipment and spares to rectify the landing gear,” the spokesperson said.
The primary task was to lift the plane so that the damaged tyres could be removed, an aircraft maintenance engineer from Jet’s team commented.
“It took a few hours to fix the aircraft jack and lift the jumbo.”
Written by Peter Needham