A pregnant woman on board a Brussels Airlines plane stuck on the runway at Manchester Airport collapsed after waiting many hours for her plane to take off. Last week, a problem with a Cathay Pacific flight stranded two other planes on the runway amid scenes of chaos at Manchester Airport.
A technical problem was detected in the plane that was to leave for Hong Kong and blocked two other planes on the runway, one to Cape Verde and the other one to Brussels. A passenger on the Brussels Airlines flight said people sat in their seats for nearly six hours waiting for takeoff, with only free water offered. The flight was originally scheduled to take off around 12:30 p.m.
The plane was eventually towed back to the terminal at around 6 p.m., with passengers given the option of staying on board or finding alternative transportation. Manchester Airport has since said that “all necessary procedures” have been carried out to ensure the safety of passengers.
Chris Brereton, who was heading to Bruges, told the Manchester Evening News how passengers were becoming increasingly frustrated as they sat next to the runway for hours. “The poor pregnant woman collapsed and two people on board stepped in to help her,” he told the British newspaper The Sun. “This was after hours of sitting on the tarmac behind the broken down plane.
According to Brereton, the captain kept saying that someone was coming to get the pregnant woman soon, but it never happened. “The lady then collapsed in the front of the plane and thank God there were trained people on board who knew what they were doing.”
A spokesperson for Brussels Airlines said, “As previously mentioned, a Cathay Pacific aircraft was blocking the runway due to technical problems, which meant that our OOSND aircraft (flight SN2174) was also stuck for several hours on the runway in Manchester. Due to UK safety regulations, it was impossible to get a tow back to the terminal.”
Cathay Pacific has apologized after a technical issue with one of its planes, an Airbus A350-900 registered B-LQA, led to it blocking a taxiway at Manchester Airport for several hours on Thursday, 15 December. The knock-on effect meant that Brussels Airlines flight SN2174 to Brussels (Airbus A320 OO-SND) and a TUI flight BY366 to Boa Vista, Cape Verde (Boeing 737 MAX 8 G-TUMO), both had to be cancelled as they were stuck behind the Cathay Pacific aircraft, that had been due to fly to Hong Kong as flight CX216.
“Cathay Pacific confirms that Flight CX216 departing from Manchester to Hong Kong on 15 December (local time) has been delayed due to a technical issue that caused the aircraft to block the taxiway,” a spokesman for the airline said. “The aircraft has since been moved and is now being inspected by our engineers.”
“We apologize for the disruption and inconvenience caused to our customers and also for other flights that were disrupted due to the blocked taxiway. We have arranged hotel accommodation and dinners for our customers while maintenance work is being performed. We will endeavor to resume their journey as soon as possible.”
Brussels Airlines has since announced that passengers with Brussels as their final destination have flown home, while passengers traveling to Brussels on connecting flights have been rebooked on other services. “Despite the difficult situation, we did our best to find solutions for all our passengers. Passengers with connections were rebooked on other flights. Only those with Brussels as their final destination, left with our own flight to Brussels in the evening.”