A Brussels Airlines flight from Belgium to the United States turned back above the mid-Atlantic for “operational reasons”.
Flight SN 515 departed on Saturday, June 22 at 11:14 am local time from Brussels headed to Washington Dulles airport, but somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean the pilots decided to return to Belgium, where they grounded the Airbus A330 in Brussels about nine hours after departure.
The specific cause for the return has not been disclosed by the company, which cited “operational reasons”.
According to passengers on the flight, it was a registration issue. The aircraft first flew for parent company Lufthansa and was put into use by Brussels Airlines on May 18 this year.
However, because the aircraft is registered as a Eurowings aircraft, it is possible that the registration was not passed on properly to the US aviation authority, who then refused to allow the flight to land in the US.
Brussels Airlines is owned by Lufthansa, but Lufthansa is in the process of essentially merging Brussels Airlines with Eurowings, their low-cost airline.
The flight was supposed to be operated with an A330-200 with the registration code OO-SFZ but was instead operated by an A330-300 with the registration code OO-SFL.
Costly return service
On Sunday, June 23, Brussels Airlines flew again on the route between the cities in Belgium and the United States, this time with the A330 with registration OO-SFZ.
If all passengers request compensation and all other costs are included, this error could cause the company approximately €500,000 in losses.