South African Airways (SAA) has apologized to passengers for the inconvenience and anxiety caused to customers who flew from Johannesburg and Accra to Washington D.C. on Sunday.
According to SAA, two unconnected incidents contributed to the delay in departure from Accra on Sunday night. The first was damage to the aircraft door and a technical problem which led to a decision to night-stop in Accra whilst waiting for a replacement aircraft.
SAA operated a scheduled flight, SA 209 on Sunday from Johannesburg to Washington D.C. via Accra. The flight operated normally from Johannesburg to Accra using an Airbus A330-200.
Whilst on the ground in Accra, there was a delay which lasted for approximately three hours after an aircraft door was damaged by a catering truck operated by SAA’s service provider at that airport. The aircraft door was fixed, inspected and found to be in working order to operate.
The stop-over in Accra en route to the United States is part of SAA’s operations in that market and serves to offload and pick up passengers as well as to refuel.
After refuelling, the aircraft took off en route Washington at approximately 03h13 UTC, but soon returned to Accra when the cockpit crew noticed that the aircraft was experiencing a technical problem. The crew landed the aircraft safely and the flight to Washington was discontinued.
Contrary to reports on social media and other platforms, South African Airways reiterated that there was no fire in the cockpit, and none of the 223 passengers and crew onboard was injured.
South African Airways provided hotel accommodation to its customers in Accra and provided other services to mitigate the impact of the inconvenience to our passengers.
In addition, South African Airways dispatched a replacement aircraft from Johannesburg to Accra to fly the passengers to their final destination.
The flight departed from Accra at 18h01 UTC on Monday, operated as SA9209 and has landed in Washington D.C. on Tuesday at 04h21 UTC.
The affected aircraft is still on the ground in Accra and is being attended to by the technicians to establish the cause of the technical problem.