Lufthansa A340 Returns To San Francisco Following Engine Stall

Lufthansa passengers due to fly from San Francisco on Wednesday were in for a surprise when their Lufthansa flight from San Francisco to Munich didn’t get very far. The aircraft encountered an engine stall and returned to San Francisco as a precaution.

Lufthansa, Airbus A340, Engine Stall
A Lufthansa Airbus A340 was forced to return to San Francisco on Wednesday. Photo: Lufthansa

While no airline wants to operate a flight to nowhere, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry as the saying goes. This is the reason why a Lufthansa Airbus A340-600 returned to San Francisco on Wednesday after around an hour in the air. The aircraft had suffered an engine stall on departure from SFO.

The flight

Lufthansa flight LH 459 is scheduled to fly from San Francisco to Munich. The flight is operated by an Airbus A340, and typically takes between 10:30 hours and 10:50 hours to complete the journey.

Lufthansa, Airbus A340, Engine Stall
The aircraft’s engine stalled on departure. Photo: Lufthansa

On Wednesday the aircraft was due to depart at 20:55 and was only running about quarter of an hour late, departing at 21:07. However, things weren’t set to stay on track. After taking off, the aircraft started to head towards the Pacific Ocean instead of the Atlantic.

Here the aircraft made five or six loops above the ocean. This would have been to dump fuel in order to not land overweight. While it is possible for aircraft to land overweight, it is not usually attempted unless absolutely necessary as a number of checks must be carried out on the aircraft to ensure it has not been damaged.

The aircraft was then due to touch down in Munich at 17:25, however, instead returned to San Francisco for a safe landing around 65 minutes after its departure. The aircraft had 238 people on board according to the Aviation Herald.

Following the incident, the flight was canceled. At the time of writing (18:00UTC – 11th of October 2019), the aircraft was still on the ground in San Francisco according to

Lufthansa, Airbus A340, Engine Stall
The aircraft landed after around 65 minutes in the air without incident. Photo: Lufthansa

Lufthansa Statement

Simple Flying contacted a representative of Lufthansa who offered us the following statement:

“Lufthansa flight LH 459 from San Francisco to Munich experienced an engine stall in one of its four engines, upon take off on 09.10.2019. As the safety of our passengers is our number one priority, the aircraft returned immediately to San Francisco International Airport. The aircraft landed safely and passengers disembarked normally. Passengers were accommodated by Lufthansa’s ground team at San Francisco Airport and rebooked on the next possible flight. Lufthansa apologizes to our passengers for the inconvenience caused by this incident”

Were you onboard flight LH459? Let us know what happened in the comments section!