royal family

Fifth mechanical fault in six months sees king’s plane delayed

Engineers manage to repair fuel valve on Juan Carlos’ A-310 to get him to soccer final in time

The Air Force Airbus A310 that carries members of the Spanish royal family.
The Air Force Airbus A310 that carries members of the Spanish royal family.ALBERTO MARTÍN / EFE

King Juan Carlos arrived in Spain 45 minutes behind schedule on Wednesday due to a mechanical failure in the Air Force A-310 airplane that had taken him to United Arab Emirates and Kuwait to seek investment opportunities for Spanish businesses, sources in the royal palace confirmed.

The fault, which was related to a fuel valve on one of the engines, was repaired by engineers in around 30 minutes. The plane in question was an Airbus A-310, which belongs to the government and carries the prime minister as well as the royal family.

The monarch was on his way to the King’s Cup soccer final, between Real Madrid and Barcelona, which was being held in Valencia on Wednesday night. He arrived in time to see the match.

The incident marks the fifth mechanical failure in aircraft used to transport members of the Spanish royal household in the last six months. In late March, Queen Sofía landed at Torrejón air base three hours late due to a breakdown in the official plane flying her back from Guatemala.

The king’s son, Prince Felipe, has also been delayed twice due to technical problems. In November 2013, the prince had to cancel a trip to Brazil because of a mechanical failure. Two months later, another glitch forced the heir to the Spanish throne to wait in Santo Domingo for nine hours, while on his way to Honduras for the swearing-in of the new president, Juan Orlando Hernández.