KLM’s ‘Orange Pride’ 777 Finally Returns Home After 1.5 Months In China – Simple Flying


KLM’s unique-liveried ‘Orange Pride’ Boeing 777 has finally returned to its home in Amsterdam today. The aircraft found itself stranded in China on New Year’s Eve following engine issues. After delays and further technical challenges, the aircraft finally made its way back after over 1.5 months on the ground.

KLM Boeing 777 Getty
KLM’s ‘Orange Pride’ 777 is back in Amsterdam after a prolonged absence. Photo: Getty Images

Returned

After just over 1.5 months on the ground, KLM’s Boeing 777-300ER has made its way back home. Data from RadarBox shows that the aircraft departed from Beijing Capital International Airport at 02:53 AM local time and made the long journey back to the Netherlands.

The flight back went smoothly (certainly better than the previous one) and the plane quickly reached its cruising altitude of 36,000 feet. The 7,829km journey took 10 hours and 5 minutes for the aircraft, arriving at Amsterdam Schiphol 30 minutes early at 05:58 AM local time.

KLM 777-300ER Return
The aircraft safely arrived in Amsterdam after 10 hours. Map: RadarBox

The touchdown marks the end of a challenging two months for the aircraft. But what exactly happened with the plane, and why did it take so long to return?

New year

The troubles first began on 31st December, when the 777-300ER suffered issues with its left-wing engine after departure from Shanghai. The crew of the aircraft, carrying only cargo at the time, opted to divert to Beijing Capital, three hours away. The issues with the engine were also serious enough for the crew to decide to shut down the left engine and safely complete the landing on one engine.

KLM Boeing 777-300ER Orange Pride
While an engine replacement usually doesn’t take too long, the pandemic complicated matters. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

However, things did not go smoothly for the plane once it reached Beijing. The Boeing 777 needed a replacement engine after the incident, but KLM engineers could not get to the aircraft for over two weeks due to travel restrictions.

The engine itself reached Beijing on 11th January but KLM had to find local contractors to carry out the replacement since their engineers could not enter China without a 10-day quarantine. Finally, after a month, KLM did manage to complete the repair and was all set to fly the plane back in early February.

Other engine faces issues

After over a month of wrangling and completing health requirements, the 777 finally had a new engine and had undergone all the tests and checks required. However, just as the plane got ready to depart on February 8th, the right-side engine indicated a fault! This caused the plane to once again returning to parking and undergo checks for the other engine.

KLM 777-300ER Orange Pride
The specially painted 777 definitely hasn’t had a smooth journey back to its home! Photo: KLM

However, after one week, the Boeing 777 was once again certified as ready to fly and planned its departure out of China. Another crew was likely brought in to complete this flight and ‘repatriate’ the aircraft. Everything went well this time, and ‘Orange Pride’ safely made it home to Amsterdam after 52 days on the ground.

Have you ever flown or seen this unique Boeing 777? Let us know in the comments!



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