Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific passengers stranded in Chennai for 24 hours

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 6:04am

Hundreds of Hong Kong-bound Cathay Pacific passengers were stranded in India for more than 24 hours on Sunday due to a technical failure.

It was the airline's third mechanical problem in two months.

The 232 passengers on board the Airbus A330, flight number CX632, were scheduled to depart from Chennai, on the southeastern coast of India, at 3.15am, Indian time, on Sunday. They should have arrived in Hong Kong at 11am on Sunday.

MH Thaika, 47, said after an hour of sitting on the plane, passengers were asked to disembark. It then took more than one hour for his baggage to be returned.

At 4pm that day, passengers were asked to be at the airport at 7.30pm to board the flight at 11.30pm.

But they were not able to board until 6.30am, Indian time, yesterday. They finally arrived in Hong Kong at 2pm.

The distressed businessman, who lives in Hong Kong and was visiting family in Chennai, called the situation "chaotic".

"There were a lot of angry passengers," he said. "I have been flying for 20 years, and it's the first time I've had to go through immigration three times [for one flight]."

He also said an Indian woman in her seventies was crying, as her husband with cancer had to be in San Francisco tomorrow for medical appointments. He believed half of the passengers had to transfer to another flight.

Cathay Pacific said yesterday the flight was delayed due to a technical problem with the park brake, and spare parts had to be sent from Hong Kong.

Forty passengers were able to fly to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific's scheduled flight yesterday or to their final destinations on other carriers, but alternative flight arrangements were limited.

The airline said hotel accommodation and meals were provided to passengers and apologised for any inconvenience.

In December last year, an engine fault on a New York-bound Cathay Pacific flight left 236 passengers stranded for 18 hours, while a London-bound flight with 235 passengers made an emergency landing at a mainland airport due to a burning smell in the cockpit.