KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) on Tuesday (Jan 7) apologised to its passengers after having to abort two takeoff attempts for an Auckland-bound plane.
Flight MH145 was scheduled to depart Kuala Lumpur for the New Zealand city on New Year's Day at 8.45pm when the incident happened.
"The flight was retimed twice due to an unexpected technical issue involving the aircraft system," said MAS in an email to CNA.
"In the interest of safety, the operating pilots decided to discontinue takeoff during low speed," it added.
According to passenger Serjit Singh, the first flight took off on time and was hurtling "full throttle" down the runway. However, the plane soon came to an abrupt stop just as its wheels were about to lift off, reported New Zealand news website Stuff.
Mr Singh said the plane then skidded on the tarmac, which caused passengers to lurch forward.
"I thought we were goners," he said.
One passenger had a panic attack and was escorted off the plane by paramedics, Mr Singh told Stuff.
The flight was then rescheduled for the next day on the same plane.
According to Mr Singh, the chief flight attendant told him not to worry and that "we will reach Auckland safely", reported the New Zealand Herald.
However as the plane was gathering speed to takeoff, it again came to halt, said Mr Singh.
"I was in utter shock and disbelief. The exact same issue that was meant to have been fixed was not and the lives of all passengers and crew on board were risked," he said.
MAS said that flight MH145D eventually departed Kuala Lumpur at about 3pm on Jan 2 and arrived in Auckland at around 6.30am the next day.
"Hotel accommodation, meals and transportation were organised for all passengers affected while some were transferred on other available carriers," said MAS.
"Safety is Malaysia Airlines' number one priority at all times and it regrets the inconvenience caused to its passengers," the airline added.