SIA apologises for cancelled flight after plane 'comes into contact' with aerobridge at Newark in US

There were 150 passengers and 17 crew on board the aircraft, all of whom managed to disembark safely. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A homebound Singapore Airlines flight from Newark in the United State's New Jersey was cancelled after it came into contact with an aerobridge on Saturday (March 23).

A Singapore Airlines spokesman said on Sunday that flight SQ22, which arrived in Newark on Saturday, was parked at the airport's designated parking bay when an aerobridge "came into contact" with its left engine.

According to the spokesman, the incident occurred while the aerobridge was being connected to the aircraft door for passengers to disembark.

There were 150 passengers and 17 crew on board the aircraft, all of whom managed to disembark safely.

The aircraft was then grounded for repairs. Return flight SQ21, originally scheduled to depart Newark on the same day with 141 passengers, was cancelled.

The Straits Times understands that no one was injured during the incident..

The spokesman said: "Customers have been assisted with hotel accommodation and alternative flight arrangements. Singapore Airlines apologises for any inconvenience caused."

A passenger who was supposed to be on the return flight SQ21, Ms Clara Chan, said that she was at the airport at around 8.30am to check in for her flight when she was told that it had been cancelled.

The flight was supposed to take off around 10.45am local time and land in Singapore around 5pm on Sunday.

"They told us that there had been damage to the plane and we could not fly out," said Ms Chan, 55, a museum docent.

She added that everyone was frantically trying to call a phone number that the staff had provided, and it was very chaotic as many of the flights out were full. "Everyone was so desperate, there were businessmen who were trying to get back for meetings, and everyone was trying to get on a different route out, whether it was via Rome, Germany, or London," she said.

Ms Chan was put on a Lufthansa flight that transited at Munich, and is expected to arrive in Singapore at 7am on Monday.

She spent most of her time waiting in a lounge with all her luggage, as the Lufthansa check-in counter did not open till late. She added that she was told that whatever they spent could be reimbursed.

"I had been looking forward to the non-stop flight back, it would have been a nice experience," said Ms Chan.

One good thing did come out of the experience though, she said.

She befriended fellow traveller Ms Rachel Loke, 37, who works in the finance industry.

Ms Loke was also supposed to have been on flight SQ21. The two met when they were trying to arrange their flights back home at the same counter, and spent the majority of the waiting time together.

Ms Loke had a more stressful experience trying to book a ticket home.

She had originally been given a United Airlines ticket, but was turned away at the counter when she tried to check in for the flight, for reasons she could not understand.

"I was in disbelief at that point and I then rushed back to my original terminal to ask what was my next arrangement," said Ms Loke.

She and Ms Chan ended up getting the last two business class tickets for the Lufthansa flight, said Ms Loke, adding that they both originally had business class tickets for the SQ flight.

They said the flight cancellation disrupted their plans for Monday.

For Ms Chan, she would not be able to attend a docent training course, while Ms Loke had to cancel all her meetings.

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