A Lufthansa A330 returned to Bangalore on Thursday after facing nose gear issues. The cabin crew noticed the fault at 8,000ft and opted to burn fuel and return to Bangalore for safety reasons. The plane landed safely in Bangalore three hours after departure with no injuries.
The flight in the incident was LH755, flying from Bangalore to Frankfurt on November 5th. The flight departed half an hour late from Bangalore at 04:03 local time and began its ascent. However, just 10 minutes after takeoff, the plane stopped its climb, likely when the pilots first detected the error, according to data from FlightRadar24.com
Soon after stopping its climb, the plane entered a holding pattern over the city and 20 minutes later moved up to 10,000 feet to burn fuel for its diversion to Bangalore. The fuel burn is required to ensure the plane does not make a hard landing due to the higher weight of the aircraft.
The plane safely landed in Bangalore three hours after departure at 07:06 local time, with emergency services standing by. No injuries were noted among the 78 passengers on this flight, according to The Aviation Herald
The plane involved in the incident was a 12.8-year-old Airbus A330-300, registered D-AIKK, according to Planespotters.net. The aircraft was delivered new to Lufthansa in January 2008 and has since been in service with no major incidents.
The plane returned to Bangalore due to issues with its nose wheel gear upon departure. While details are few, it seems the crew decided to return after receiving a warning about the nose wheel. To safely land in Bangalore, and since the problem was not immediate, the aircraft decided to burn fuel first.
Burning fuel prevents a hard landing, which can damage the airframe itself and requires thorough maintenance before returning to service, which means pilots avoid it unless the issue is time-sensitive.
The aircraft flew a number of rotations in the week before the incident, including to Male and Miami. After spending two days on the ground in Bangalore after the diversion, it made its way back to Frankfurt on 7th November, according to FlightRadar24.com. The plane will likely undergo maintenance before returning to service.
Light flight load
The incident comes soon after Lufthansa resumed flights to India, following a weeks-long standoff with the Indian government. The dispute arose after India claimed that Lufthansa was flying too many flights and disadvantaging Air India, which only had a handful of weekly services.
This flight from Bangalore only had 78 passengers, showing that passenger capacity is yet to return anywhere close to pre-pandemic levels. However, Lufthansa still sees India as a key market through the pandemic and hopes to add more flights soon, if the government permits it to.