Faulty Boeing strands hundreds of Belgians in Jamaica

Faulty Boeing strands hundreds of Belgians in Jamaica
Credit: Belga

Hundreds of Belgians are stranded in Jamaica after their connecting flight back to Belgium was cancelled due to a technical default on their Boeing aircraft.

A total of 305 passengers on their way back from Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, have been stranded in Montego Bay since Tuesday evening.

The Belgian passengers took off from Punta Cana at around 4:00 on Tuesday, landing in the Jamaican beach resort for what was supposed to be a connecting flight.

"We were stuck inside the plane for around an hour and a half when they told us that the brakes on our plane, (...) had an issue which they needed to verify and repair," a passenger on the flight told RTL, adding that their plane was a "Dreamliner Boeing 737."

The airline carrier, TUI, has a fleet mostly consisting of Boeings, including the 787-8 Dreamliner, the Boeing 737 Next Generation and the Boeing 737 Max.

The latter series was grounded worldwide last year following two deadly crashes which were linked to a series faults, including of design and manufacture.

The passenger said that they were later asked to disembark and given a €4.50 voucher to use during at least two hours of waiting at the airport, before ultimately being sent to a hotel.

"We arrived at the hotel at 1:00 AM and were told that the bus for the airport would leave at 6:30 AM the next morning, but at that time we were told that [the issue] hadn't been settled yet (...) and that a new bus would come pick us up at 4:30 PM," another passenger said.

The second passenger added that their departure from the hotel was repeatedly postponed, until the last proposed take-off time, set at 1:00 AM, was also ultimately scrapped.

The passenger expressed outrage over being "run around like dirty cattle," calling out the company for "avoiding their responsibilities" and noting that there were children as well as elderly and disabled people on the flight.

TUI told RTL that repairs were still being done on the plane but that the passengers would finally be put on board a flight to Belgium at around 2:00 PM local time on Thursday.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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