Smoke in the cockpit has prompted a Lufthansa crew to don oxygen masks and land in Newfoundland, Canada. The 747-400 Jumbo-jet was on a flight from Frankfurt to Orlando with 345 passengers on board.
The German news agency DPA and “Die Welt” newspaper reported Wednesday that the source of the smoke could not be identified after a safe landing.
Lufthansa, like other airlines, recently banned the use of a new model mobile phone, the Galaxy Note 7, on its flights after Samsung recalled several million of its devices on fears that faulty batteries could catch fire.
Lufthansa said the crew of 18 landed the airliner while wearing breathing masks at Gander on Canada’s east coast.
“Due to the smoke, the cockpit crew decided to re-route the plane to Newfoundland and landed there safely,” a spokesman said.
Tuesday’s trans-Atlantic flight LH 464 from Frankfurt was en route to Orlando in the southern state of Florida.
“Die Welt” said emergency exits were not activated and it quoted passengers as saying the pilots had kept them well briefed during the landing, described by Lufthansa as “precautionary.”
A substitute aircraft was provided to forward passengers to their destination, Lufthansa said.
Leave Samsung at home!
Lufthansa issued a pointed Twitter message on Tuesday, telling customers that “Samsung Note 7 smart phones are not permitted on any of our flights. Please leave them at home!”
DPA said there were “serious conflicts” with passengers last weekend in the United States because they refused to leave their devices behind without receiving substitutes.
At German airports, Samsung had positioned employees to offer substitute devices to departing passengers.
LUFTHANSA’S BIG-TIME OVERHAUL
Europe’s biggest airline
Lufthansa’s most important operating goups are the Passenger Airline Group, Logistics, Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) and Catering. The Passenger Airline Group includes Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines, as well as low-cost carrier Eurowings. Major investments include Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines and German-Turkish charter airline SunExpress.
Struggling with competitors
Lufthansa, one of the world’s largest airlines, is struggling to compete with its lower-cost rivals and trying to implement cost-cutting measures, most notably over pensions, which it says are unsustainable. Lufthansa is aiming to keep at bay long-haul rivals such as Emirates and Turkish Airlines. In Europe, the carrier is struggling with mounting competition from budget airlines.
Costly labor disputes
Lufthansa’s efforts have annoyed unions, not only the flight attendants’ Ufo but also Cockpit, which represents the airline’s pilots. Cockpit has held 13 strikes at Lufthansa since the labor dispute started to escalate. Those walkouts have cost Europe’s biggest carrier 320 million euros ($355 million)
Costly strikes cheaper than excessive pensions
Analysts hail Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr for taking a tough stance in the labor dispute. They consider the cost of strikes to be less dramatic than excessive pension costs. The airline has recently announced it was projecting full-year operating profit to come in at between 1.75 and 1.95 billion euros, up from the 1.5 billion euros projected previously.
ipj/jm (dpa, Reuters)