Cathay jet engine shut down mid-flight

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 December, 2011, 12:00am
 

A Cathay Pacific flight from Manila to Hong Kong made it safely to Chek Lap Kok on Thursday night despite having one of its four engines shut down during the journey because of a technical problem.

The shutdown was in line with the airline's standard precautionary measures, a Cathay spokeswoman said. She said the shutdown of one of the four engines did not affect the safety of the flight.

The spokeswoman confirmed that flight 918 from Manila to Hong Kong had landed, without incident, at Hong Kong International Airport at 8.22pm on Thursday. All 338 passengers and 19 crew on board the Boeing 747-400 aircraft were able to disembark normally.

Last month, an engine problem forced Manila-bound Cathay Pacific flight 903 carrying 230 people to return to Hong Kong. The problem in one of the Airbus 340's four engines was spotted 20 minutes after take-off. The passengers were transferred to a later flight.

In October, a Cathay flight heading to Rome was forced to return to Hong Kong after one of the engines failed. About an hour after leaving Hong Kong at midnight, one of flight 293's four engines developed problems and the pilot decided to shut it down. With three engines operating, the Airbus A340-300, with 278 passengers on board, landed safely at the airport.

The passengers stayed in a hotel and about 260 of them left on another flight in the morning. An examination showed that the problem was a one-off incident, and other aircraft of the same model did not need to be checked.

Cathay also confirmed that a volcano in Alaska's Aleutian Islands that erupted violently yesterday, spouting an ash cloud 4,570 metres into the sky and prompting an air-traffic alert, would not affect any of its international flights.

'There is no impact expected on our flight operations,' the spokeswoman said.

The Cleveland volcano, located on an uninhabited island 1,500 kilometres southwest of Anchorage, has been emitting lava and gas since July.

Ash from the 1,730-metre volcano is considered potentially dangerous to aircraft because Cleveland's peak lies directly below commercial flight paths between Asia and North America.

Additional explosions producing larger ash clouds are possible and could come without warning.

Jet engines are vulnerable to damage and sudden failure if they suck in gritty volcanic dust.

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