South African Airways (SAA) had to dispatch a replacement aircraft to Ghana on Monday following two operational glitches on the Airbus A330 flight to the US and has apologised to passengers for the incident.
The airline’s service from Johannesburg via Accra to Washington D.C. on Sunday (4 August) was beset with issues. The flight was meant to leave Accra on Sunday but did not depart until 18.01h on Monday, operated as SA9209 and landed in Washington D.C. on Tuesday at 04.21h (all local times).
SAA said two unconnected incidents contributed to the delay in departure from Accra on Sunday night after it had landed their on time from Johannesburg.
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, the carrier said 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.
After refuelling, the aircraft took off at approximately 03.13h (local time) on Monday but soon returned to the airport in Accra when the cockpit crew noticed that the aircraft was experiencing a technical problem, which was detected in the cockpit.
SAA said: “There is no information or basis to make a connection between damage to the aircraft door and the technical problem experienced in the cockpit while the aircraft was airborne.
“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 aircraft is still on the ground in Accra and is being attended to by the technicians to establish the cause of the technical problem.”