ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Passengers onboard a Toronto-bound Air Canada flight AC961 were forced to stay put for two hours after the aircraft – boarded at the VC Bird International Airport – experienced difficulties during takeoff and became stuck on the runway.
The plane eventually took off at 5:13 pm, a little more than two hours past its 3 pm departure time.
It also caused a number of disruptions to other flights. As a result of the incident, an American Airlines flight from Miami, which was due to land in antigua at around 3:20 pm yesterday, was forced to circle several times before being diverted to St Kitts. Its arrival in Antigua was eventually delayed around two hours.
Also a United Airlines flight, two LIAT flights and a number of courier flights were forced to delay takeoff during the incident.
Further, a Virgin Airlines flight, which was due to arrive at 4:45 pm yesterday, delayed its departure from Barbados and arrived around 6 pm.
Director of Operations for the Airport Authority Edward Gilkes said the captain of the Air Canada flight had ordered passengers to remain onboard while repairs were done. Employees said passengers were fed while the problem was addressed.
The Air Canada flight came to a halt while taxiing down the main runway shortly after 3 pm yesterday and returned to the parking apron on its own power.
Several airport officials went to the scene to address the problem.
Gilkes said the aircraft experienced problems with the nose wheel steering.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)