Virgin Australia's Samoa bound Plane Forced to Circle Back to Auckland

21st Jun 2016

A minor technical issue forced Virgin Australia flight number VA91 to circle back to the airport in Auckland after only two hours it spent in the air. The plane was bound for Samoa.

A spokesman for the Australian number two carrier said this was done as one of the operational computer systems on board the airplane was beginning to show an error message. As a result, it was decided that the plane be returned for "precautionary reasons".

According to the spokesman, the plane was most likely still safe to fly, as he said:

"By all accounts the aircraft was safe to fly but obviously for precautionary reasons they returned to Auckland and that error was rectified."

A spokeswoman for the Auckland Airport reported that VA91 managed to land safely back at the airport there and added:

"Passengers are going to be put on to another aircraft so jut a tail change then off they'll all go again."

The flight was scheduled to depart at 4:25 PM, but this didn't happen until 6:19 PM. Once it finally did, the plane didn't spend much time in the air, as it had to turn back and return to Auckland at about 8:20 PM.

The Australian airline apologized to its customers for any inconvenience this might have caused.

Virgin Australia to Reignite Qantas Price Rivalry

Meanwhile, the price rivalry between the two biggest airlines in Australia is bound to continue after Virgin Australia's $852 million capital raising the carrier announced last week.

According to John O'Shea Bell Porter analyst, this would give Virgin the necessary means to compete with Qantas for customers.

Mr O'Shea said:

"The capital raising provides some short-term funding. We expect this to translate into a resumption of robust competition between Qantas (QAN) and Virgin Australia (VAH), which decreases the likelihood of any material increases in domestic airfares any time soon."

Mr O'Shea however pointed out that Virgin Australia still faces some medium-term and long-term challenges ahead. Currently, the carrier is selling its aircraft and terminating jobs in order to cut $300 million from its annual costs.