Aviation: South African Airways issues apology after the forced landing of Ghana-Washington flight
Africa’s biggest carrier South African Airways (SAA) has rendered an apology to its passengers’ onboard flight SA 209, which was on its way to Dulles International Airport, Washington DC, United States of America, from Johannesburg, via Accra.
Following some technical error, the flight was forced to land after the pilot reportedly discovered a mishap. The flight operated in a normal way from Johannesburg to Accra using Airbus A330-200.
The carrier had to dispatch a replacement aircraft to Ghana, to fly the passengers to their final destination.
According to the airline, two unconnected incidents contributed to the delay in departure from Accra on Sunday night.
Explaining in detail the technical glitches, the airline said, “The first was damage to the aircraft door and subsequent to that, a technical problem occurred which led to a decision to night-stop in Accra whilst waiting for a replacement aircraft.”
“Whilst on the ground in Accra, there was a delay which lasted for approximately three hours after an aircraft door was damaged by a catering truck operated by SAA’s service provider at that airport. The aircraft door was fixed, inspected and found to be in working order to operate.”
Contrary to reports on social media and other platforms, SAA would like to reiterate that there was no fire in the cockpit. No one was injured and the aircraft made an air-turn back and landed safely in Accra with all 223 passengers on board and the operating crew.
The incident led to an operational decision that it was undesirable to continue to operate the flight to Washington DC.
The flight departed from Accra at 18h01 UTC on Monday, operated as SA9209 and has landed in Washington DC on Tuesday at 04h21 UTC.
Whilst the incidents could not have been foreseen, the decision was taken based on safety considerations, in the best interests of passengers and crew.
SAA is grateful that our crew followed every safety procedure and did not discount anything, concluded the airline.