KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 — In the same week that an AirAsia flight crashed, another plane from the same airline departing Surabaya caused a massive scare when its engine sputtered to a halt just before take-off, Indonesian media reported.
In the incident yesterday, the plane had taxied for two to three metres when one of its engines died, Indonesia’s Metro News reported, citing some passengers aboard who heard a loud sound.
The Bandung-bound plane, however, made it back to the airport’s gate where the 120 passengers on board were then asked to disembark while the plane underwent repairs.
Yusuf Fitriadi told the Indonesian news channel that a man dressed as a pilot informed the disembarked passengers waiting at the Juanda International Airport in Indonesia’s second-largest city that the starter monitor had malfunctioned.
“The plane was ready and moved, but suddenly a loud sound was heard, the sound of the engine disappeared and the plane moved backwards. We were shocked and panicked.
“The plane was then pulled back to where it parked and we were asked by the stewardess to leave the plane,” the passenger was quoted as saying in Indonesian Malay.
The plane was scheduled to have departed at 9pm local time on Saturday.
Yusuf said Indonesia AirAsia officials later told passengers that the flight would resume after the problem was rectified.
“The majority, about 90 per cent of passengers didn’t continue because the reason given was not delivered well,” the passenger was quoted adding.
The airline was reported to have given refunds to the passengers who did not resume the flight.
Yesterday’s incident is the latest to hit the Asian budget airline in recent days.
Flight QZ8501 carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members crashed into the Java Sea last Sunday about 40 minutes after departing Surabaya for Singapore.
A multi-nation search and recovery operation headed by Indonesia has yet to find any survivors.
Inclement weather has also hampered efforts to retrieve the fuselage and Flight QZ8501’s black boxes, believed to be lying on the seabed.
Earlier this week too, an AirAsia plane flying to Langkawi from Penang was forced to make a U-turn after a mechanical glitch while yet another overshot a runway while landing in an airport in the Philippines.