Financially distressed low-cost airline 1time, is hoping to regain stability through a business rescue plan. File Photo: Matthew Jordaan

Johannesburg -

The airline 1Time apologised on Monday to passengers affected by the return of its aircraft to the Durban airport.

“(We) sincerely regret any inconvenience that was caused for passengers aboard the flight, as well as those that were delayed at the airport...,” said director of flight operations Captain Wayne Jefferies.

Jefferies said the captain on board followed precautionary measures when he decided to turn back the flight to King Shaka International Airport on Sunday.

The SA Civil Aviation Authority said the aircraft that made an emergency landing at Durban's airport had an engine failure.

The plane, which had been going to Cape Town, was forced to turn back minutes after take off. The runway at the airport was closed from 5pm for the emergency landing.

Jefferies said a noteworthy noise was heard followed by a sudden jolt. The check done on the plane indicated damage to the engine.

The cabin crew and passengers were notified that the aircraft would be returning to Durban, he said.

“We wish to reiterate that safety is our airline's first and foremost priority... and therefore every precaution was taken to return the aircraft safely.” - Sapa