A Kulula plane, en route Cape Town from Lanseria, experienced ’engine-related’ issues on Monday morning and was forced to make an emergency landing at OR Tambo airport.
A KULULA plane, en route Cape Town from Lanseria, experienced “engine-related” issues on Monday morning and was forced to make an emergency landing at OR Tambo airport.
The pilots reported the technical issue early on in the voyage. After that, the aircraft abruptly altered course and headed back to Johannesburg. Flight MN451 landed safely, according to the airline, and passengers were accommodated by British Airways, which also operates Kulula.
A passenger on the flight, Ruan Botha, took to Twitter to commend the airline’s competence.
“I was on that flight. There was a bang when the left engine failed 20 min into the flight, followed by some turbulence, but not much. The pilots were extremely professional and kept everyone calm,” he said.
On the other hand, another passenger, Terri-Anne Nell was horrified that the emergency landing happened at all.
She tweeted: “This is the 2nd one this year alone. Clearly, aircrafts are not being maintained. These warnings are preemptive to a pending disaster.”
This is in reference to another Kulula flight that, three weeks ago on the same route, experienced similar engine troubles, causing the morning flight to detour to OR Tambo International.
However, it is not the same plane as Monday’s, according to the airline.
Kulula airline was quick to respond to Nell: “Hi Terri-Anne. We would like to assure you that getting our schedule back on track has been our top priority and we have assembled a task team to mitigate the current disruption, which includes the leasing of additional aircraft and our aircraft is maintained weekly.”
As more and more passengers took to the social media app to hold the airline accountable, Kulula confirmed in a Tweet that while the engine did have a technical issue, “it did not blow up as others are mentioning”.
The airline says its planes undergo routine maintenance check-ups.
“At no time were our passengers and crew at risk.” Kulula COO Des O’Connor said. “We apologise for the inconvenience we know that this has caused and are conducting a thorough investigation on the aircraft.”