Malaysia Airlines has apologised for an Auckland-bound flight that experienced a “shuddering halt” twice prior to take off, leaving passengers unsettled.
In a statement, the national carrier said that flight MH145 was retimed twice due to “an unexpected technical issue involving the aircraft system”.
“In the interest of safety, the operating pilots decided to discontinue take-off during low speed,” it said.
Earlier today, one of the passengers told the New Zealand Herald that the flight was about to take off on New Year’s Day when the pilot allegedly stopped the plane, causing the passengers to lurch forward.
One passenger was so stressed, the New Zealand daily reported, that an ambulance had to be called.
Serjit Singh, of Red Beach in New Zealand, told the daily that the flight was subsequently aborted with passengers booked on another flight the next day, on the same plane, only for it to come to a halt again before it took off.
It was reported that passengers said the Airbus A330-200 skidded on the tarmac, throwing passengers forward in their seats.
“I thought we were goners,” Serjit said.
The pilot said there were “instrument issues” and taxied back to the tarmac.
Engineers then boarded the plane while passengers were only allowed to disembark three hours later.
Serjit said they were told to return to the airport the next day for a 10am flight.
To their dismay, it was the same jet that a flight attendant said was in “good condition and they would arrive in Auckland safely”.
However, shortly before take-off, the plane stopped abruptly.
Passengers were told to disembark while the issue was being fixed.
They refused to board the plane and Malaysia Airlines later sourced a new jet for afternoon flight that touched down in Auckland on January 3.
Serjit is furious about how Malaysia Airlines treated the passengers and said those who were not in business class were forced to spend hours at the gate.
He also claimed that no senior person from the carrier addressed the issue or was seen managing the issue during the entire ordeal.
Malaysia Airlines, however, said hotel accommodation, meals and transportation were organised for all affected passengers.
Some, it added, were transferred on other available carriers.
“Safety is Malaysia Airlines’ number one priority at all times, and it regrets the inconvenience caused to its passengers,” the statement said.