Makeshift beds were provided at Lux Airport for stranded passengers
Photo: Cédric Gantzer / Twitter
A light aircraft that landed without landing gear was the cause of Tuesday and Wednesday’s travel chaos in and around Luxembourg airport.
According to Lux Airport and Air Navigation Administration officials, the incident occurred at around 9:40pm on 29 August when a private plane took off from Luxembourg and encountered a technical problem. The pilot was forced to turn back and make an emergency landing. An electrical fault meant they were unable to notify air traffic control and, when the landing gear did not deploy, the plane landed on its belly on the grass beside the runway.
No-one was injured in the incident. An emergency procedure led to the runway’s immediate closure and the mobilisation of airport firefighters who evacuated the aircraft.
The manoeuvre lasted around four hours, impacting commercial and freight air traffic in and out of Findel airport. In total, ten Luxair flights were diverted, of which nine went to Frankfurt-Hahn, in Germany, and the tenth to Liège, in Belgium.
Marc, who was on the incoming 21:25 KLM flight from Amsterdam, was forced to return to Amsterdam where after several hours of waiting, he received a voucher for a hotel. He hoped to arrive in Luxembourg for 6pm on Wednesday by flying via Paris. “I guess I was lucky to have a hotel room and I did not have to sleep on the floor,” he said, adding: “Organisation [sic] was not excellent. But to be honest, they had to cope at the same time with a cancelled flight to Berlin (Berlin had been shut down because of a WWII bomb found in the surroundings!)”
Eight of Luxair’s redirected flights were able to return with their passengers after the airport reopened at around 1:30am, while a further two returned empty after their passengers from Rome were taken to Frankfurt-Hahn and from Hurghada to Liège, from where they were later repatriated by shuttle buses.
The closure also prompted the cancellation of two flights on Wednesday to Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Erica, who was booked on the 06:15 KLM flight to Amsterdam where she would take a connecting flight to South Africa, told Delano she had lost a day of holiday.
“I was a bit annoyed that the flight was cancelled when the issue was apparently resolved by 2am but it's not the airline's fault and they did their best to help us,” she told Delano, adding: “We're essentially losing a day of our holiday but what can you do? I understand that people are angry but these things happen and of course they needed to make sure the runway was safe etc.”