Jetstar Plane Returns to Runway after Just 15 Minutes in the Air

14th Dec 2015

A flight from Auckland to Dunedin normally takes less than two hours. That is if the aircraft doesn't turn back after only about 15 minutes in the air as a Jetstar plane this Saturday was forced to do.

According to passengers who were on board at the time, the plane started "jerking and shuddering" not long after takeoff and they could see orange flashes going off.

That something was wrong with the plane was clear to one passenger in row 26, as he complained to the staff about strange noises under his seat. It was not a Gremlin, but engine problems.

After the plane landed safely, one passenger commented about the whole situation:

"Then, after we had made the unexpected landing, other passengers reported that the noises the person in row 26 had reported were actually a sign that there was a problem with the engine."

Another passenger claimed he saw at least nine orange flashes and heard loud bangs while the aircraft was climbing.

He said:

"We were still ascending and it felt like the plane almost had a handbrake on. The whole plane was jerking and shuddering. Some of the passengers were pushing the button calling crew to come and talk to them but they never turned up."

Other passengers confirmed that no announcement was made by the airline, but that the pilot did walk among them immediately after the landing to check on everyone. Still, one passenger described the entire situation as "terrifying".

A spokeswoman for the Australian carrier said that one of the engines malfunctioned not long into takeoff.

She explained:

"The Captain elected to return to Auckland and had a normal landing. Customers were accommodated on later services. These next generation aircraft are designed to operate with one engine and in this case operated with one engine on full power and the other on reduced power. Our engineers are continuing to investigate the cause of the fault."