There were issues with the engine on the long haul flight and it had to make an emergency landing in Luanda.

Lufthansa A350 suffers engine issues, diverts to Luanda

The incident happened on the Saturday, December 3, 2022. The registration code for the flight was D-aiXE. The plane had almost 300 people on it.

According to The Aviation Herald, the Airbus A350 was cruising at 38,000 feet about 10 miles from Luanda, Angola, when the crew encountered issues with the left hand engine. The crew started to descend, eventually leveling off at 20,000 feet.

Lufthansa’s diversion to Luanda, Angola

After entering a holding pattern to burn off fuel, the plane was diverted to Luanda. It took the aircraft one hour to land on runway 23. The plane flew over four hours.

Lufthansa’s diversion to Luanda, Angola

It is thought that the engine may have to be replaced, so technical staff are being flown in to look at the plane. The plane hasn't left the country yet.

Lufthansa strands passengers in Luanda

The part of the story that leaves me scratching my head is the part about diversions happening all the time. If you have 300 people stuck at the airport, the airline will try to get a replacement plane to pick them up. That is not what transpired here.

NTV claims that this is what happened.

  • Passengers were only allowed to leave the plane after hours of waiting
  • Since passengers didn’t have entry documents for Angola, the Angolan military confiscated all passengers’ passports
  • Lufthansa arranged hotels for passengers, but didn’t provide any information about how they’d continue their journey
  • Passengers later received new tickets from Lufthansa with new flights; Lufthansa wasn’t sending a rescue plane, but rather rebooked passengers on other flights
  • Many of the flight’s passengers were rebooked on flights that aren’t even soon; for example, a family with three children was given December 12 as the next possible return trip — ah, yes, enjoy your complimentary nine day vacation in Angola!

In order to reach Luanda, the airline uses an A330 and flies there 3 times a week.

What a disappointing recovery on the part of the airline. If a flight in New York is canceled, you can rebook everyone within a day.

I don't think it's right to tell passengers that they'll get out of here in nine days.

The airline had a replacement aircraft in the air within hours after a trans-Atlantic flight was diverted to Canada.

Talk about an underwhelming recovery effort!

Bottom line

There were engine issues that caused the A350 to be diverted to Luanda. What is surprising is the way the airline dealt with things from there. Passengers were sent to hotels after their passports were taken away, and new tickets were sent to them so they could stay in Luanda for a week.

Do you think this is a good idea?

There is a tip to Klaus.