Flight operations at Mumbai airport’s primary airstrip were hit for at least 14 hours after a Lufthansa aircraft was stranded on the tarmac following an emergency touchdown on Friday.
The Lufthansa flight LH764 from Munich, with 163 passengers on board, made an emergency landing as the pilots reported a problem with the landing gear.
A Lufthansa spokesperson confirmed the incident saying four tyres of the Airbus A330 were damaged.
“The plane will be removed from the runway after the assembly of four new tyres. Flight LH765 of 14th May had to be cancelled. 223 passengers will be affected and LH is trying to rebook them on other flights,” a statement issued by the airlines said.
Although operations were moved to the secondary runway at least four flights, including the Lufthansa return flight to Munich, were cancelled. These included a flight each by Air India and United Airlines bound to Newark as well Singapore Airlines’ Airbus 380 to Singapore.
All these planes are twin-aisle aircraft with a seating capacity of at least 250 passengers and require the full take off run from the main runway.
While airport officials said flight movement on the smaller runway was seamless some airlines reported delays. Jet Airways tweeted that all its arrivals and departures throughout the day were likely to run late by at least 30 minutes owing to main runway closure.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officials, who inspected the grounded aircraft, suspect that its anti-skid system which protects the brakes from locking could have failed.
Airport sources added that the German flagship carrier was in talks with Air India to clear the aircraft from the runway. AI, which is the member of the International Airlines Technical Pool, is the only carrier that has aircraft recovery kit in India and South Asia.