Cathay Pacific

Paris-bound flight forced to return to Hong Kong airport due to technical issues, in second incident in six hours

Cathay Pacific plane headed for Manila had turned back due to similar issue 

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 February, 2018, 12:48pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 February, 2018, 11:20pm

A Paris-bound flight had to return to Hong Kong hours after taking off owing to an engine malfunction early on Friday morning, the second such incident to happen within six hours.

Hong Kong’s Airport Authority received a call at around 3am from air traffic control staff saying that the Air France aircraft had to turn back.

Cathay Pacific flight makes emergency return after engine trouble

Air France later confirmed that the crew on flight AF185 decided on the move over a “malfunction of the fire detection system on one of the engines”.

The airline said passengers were “provided with accommodation and re-routed [on other flights] to their destinations”.

A Civil Aviation Department spokesman said the pilot of the aircraft made a request to return to Hong Kong due to a technical problem with one of the aircraft’s engines.

“There were no reports of injuries and the airport operations were not affected by the incident,” the spokesman said.

Passenger Alan Lo, who was on the plane, wrote on Facebook earlier that he was told the incident had been caused by a failure in the engine’s fire alarm sensor.

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“Back to Hong Kong, something wrong with the [fire] alarm,” Lo said in his post.

According to online flight tracking service Flightradar24, the aircraft departed from Hong Kong at about 1.03am and made a U-turn when it was flying above Wuhan in central China. 

The Fire Services Department sent 14 vehicles, one ambulance and two fire vessels in response to the standby request. 

After the plane landed safely at 4.47am on Friday, the standby request was cancelled.

There was no rescue operation carried out, a Fire Services Department spokeswoman said.

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This was the second such incident involving a similar engine issue within six hours.

On Thursday night, a Cathay Pacific Airways flight bound for Manila made an emergency return to Hong Kong soon after take-off due to a “technical issue with one of the aircraft’s engines”. 

A Facebook user claimed to have witnessed “explosions” as the plane returned to the airport.

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A Fire Services Department spokeswoman said they received a call at 9.09pm on Thursday night for a standby request after getting a report about possible engine issues.

The department sent 27 vehicles, seven ambulances and five vessels. As with the latter incident, there was no rescue operation required after the aircraft landed safely in Hong Kong. 

A spokesman for Rolls-Royce, the company that manufactures the engines on the plane, said: “We’re working closely with our customer [Cathay Pacific] to assist them at this time.”

A Civil Aviation Department spokesman said: “The operator has reported the occurrence to the department and is working with the aircraft manufacturer to determine the cause of the incident. We will monitor the operator’s investigation and take the necessary follow-up action.”