SINGAPORE – Passengers on board a flight bound for Singapore from Shanghai on Wednesday were stuck in the plane for nearly eight hours due to a technical fault.
Singapore Airlines Flight SQ833 was scheduled to leave Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 4.50pm on Wednesday and arrive in Singapore at around 10.20pm.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, an SIA spokesman said the Airbus A380 had encountered technical issues while it was still on the ground in Shanghai.
The spokesman added: “The aircraft returned to the bay and engineers were brought on-site to try to rectify the issue. For safety reasons, the ground power had to be disabled while the checks were going on.”
Passengers on board were served meals and refreshments, and ground staff were also present to assist passengers, said the spokesman, who added that the flight was subsequently cancelled as more time was required to fix the issues.
“Customers disembarked the aircraft at 12.30am and hotel accommodation was arranged,” said the spokesman. “All affected customers were rebooked on other flights (on Thursday) and have since departed Shanghai.”
The spokesman explained that passengers were made to remain on board as the engineers tried to rectify the technical issues to facilitate a quicker departure if the issues could be resolved. However, the fault persisted “throughout the evening”, leading to the cancellation.
“We recognise that the customers could have been allowed to leave the aircraft earlier. SIA apologises to the affected customers for this and we will review our procedures to avoid a recurrence,” the spokesman said.
Mr Chee Yang, one of the passengers on Wednesday’s cancelled flight, told ST that the plane had already gained some speed travelling on the runway, before he felt a sudden brake.
The plane then made a U-turn and taxied back to where the passengers boarded, said Mr Chee, who was travelling with his wife.
“The captain said there was a technical error and was waiting for the engineer to diagnose (the problem),” said the 32-year-old port operation executive.
“(He) asked us to wait for 30 minutes, and then one hour. The engine was turned off twice. Without air conditioning, everyone was so hot in there, it was lucky no one fainted.”
He added that passengers were provided hotel accommodations for the night after they disembarked the plane, although it was after 3am when he and his wife arrived at their hotel.
“They rebooked us on the same flight on the next day,” said Mr Chee, who added that he was informed of the new flight arrangements via an e-mail sent at around 4am. “We had to waste another one day of leave on this.”
Additional reporting by Yong Li Xuan
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