An Embraer ERJ-190 operated by Aeromexico Connect returned to its origin airport last week after an engine failed following takeoff. The aircraft was operating a regularly scheduled flight from Ciudad Juarez to Mexico City on Thursday, July 23. A check after the flight landed found debris in the left-hand engine.
Flashes of flame and debris in the engine
According to a report in The Aviation Herald, the Embraer (registration XA-GAI ) was operating Aeromexico Connect flight AM118 last Thursday. This flight is the daily 17:24 departure from Ciudad Juarez. The city of Ciudad Juárez sits on the Rio Grande, just south of the border with the United States. It is approximately 1800 kilometers north of Mexico City.
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The Aviation Herald reports that the Embraer was climbing out of Ciudad Juárez when its left side engine failed. The crew shut down the engine at approximately 8,000 feet and safely returned to Ciudad Juárez. Photos published by The Aviation Herald show some debris in the engine. However, the publication reports there was no damage to the fan blades and limited damage to the blades of the last turbine stage.
Footage filmed by a passenger on the flight shows what appears to be a flash coming from the engine immediately after takeoff. There follows a larger (reflected) burst of flame. The footage does not show the engine, rather the end of the wing. However, the two flashes appear to come from the direction of the engine.
The aircraft continued its climb, banking slightly after the incident. Passengers had noticed what happened as there are several exclamations and nervous laughs.
The aircraft circled over the Ciudad Juarez area several times before landing back at the airport. FlightAware notes the plane was in the air for 34 minutes. The number of people onboard the flight is unknown. However, there were no reported injuries to passengers or crew.
The incident ends a relatively trouble-free period for Aeromexico Connect
XA-GAI has remained on the ground in Ciudad Juarez since the incident. However, it will resume flying on Monday evening, local time.
Aeromexico Connect is the regional airline of Aeromexico. It was formerly known as Aerolitoral. It operates an all Embraer fleet of 52 aircraft, including 47 ERJ-190s. XA-GAI is a leased plane that has been with Aeromexico Connect for just over six years.
Last week, Aeromexico announced that it would be returning 19 aircraft from its fleet to their lessors. On the list were nine Embraers. However, XA-GAI looks set to stay with the airline for the foreseeable future. Aeromexico Connect operates nine ERJ-170s in addition to its larger ERJ-190 fleet. It’s the ERJ-170s that are leaving the Aeromexico Connect fleet.
Thursday’s incident is the first notable incident since a crash in 2018. Two years ago, an Aeromexico Connect ERJ-190 crashed while taking off from Durango Airport. Durango is in central Mexico, northwest of Mexico City. There were no fatalities in that crash, but the subsequent fire destroyed the aircraft.
While Thursday’s engine failure is less serious, it ends a two-year incident-free run for the airline.
Simple Flying has approached Aeromexico for further details of Thursday’s incident. There was no response before publication.