Northwest flight lands in Billings after suffering mechanical problems
A Northwest Airlines flight traveling from Minneapolis to Bozeman was diverted to Billings today because of mechanical problems.
The Airbus A320 with 135 people aboard landed in Billings shortly after noon. Passengers used portable stairs to exit the plane while it was parked on the ramp. No one was injured.
"We heard this flapping noise. The captain came on the intercom and said we were having hydraulic problems," said Kathee McCafferty of Traverse City, Mich.
The captain said the Billings airport would be safer for a landing because it has a longer runway than the Bozeman airport, McCafferty said. She said passengers began hearing the strange noises about a half-hour before the plane touched down in Billings.
"We all clapped when we got on the ground," said McCafferty, who was accompanied by daughters Alexis and Jillian and her husband, John. The family's vacation to Yellowstone National Park was temporarily interrupted in Billings because no rental cars were available.
Sissy and Sandy Buck of Portland, Maine, on their way to their son's college orientation at Montana State University, were waiting to pick up one of the last remaining rental cars at the Billings airport.
"After we landed, they had to tow us in," Sissy Buck said. "The captain did a good job."
Northwest Airlines maintenance workers have been on strike since Saturday. Replacement workers have been maintaining aircraft since the workers went on strike.
A Northwest Airlines spokesman didn't immediately return a call from a reporter.
I'm becoming increasingly skeptical about management's assertions about their replacement workers. After reading on Bloomberg that the flight attendants might do a "safety strike" I'd put better-than-even odds that something is going to happen in the next few days. I hope that nobody gets hurt.