Burning Odor Forces An Air France 777 On A 10 Hour Flight To Nowhere

An Air France Boeing 777-200 was diverted after a burning odor arose in the cabin. The aircraft was in the air for over ten hours before landing back where it started, in Paris.

ir France Boeing 777-200
The Air France Boeing 777 made two diversions before settling back in Paris. Photo: Air France

Troubles across the Atlantic

The Aviation Herald reports that the flight AF-852 left Paris Orly on November 5 to head to Cayenne, French Guiana. Aircraft registration F-GSPA was at FL350 and traveling at around 530nm southwest of Lajes in the Azores. However, the crew decided to divert due to a smell of burning.

Subsequently, the plane turned towards the Canary Islands, which was 900nm southwest of its location. However, the crew then apparently changed their minds and decided to turn the plane once again, this time towards its original position in Paris. The 777 eventually made a safe landing at Paris Charles de Gaulle.

The crew landed on runway 26L some six hours after the decision to turn around was made. Altogether, the plane was in the air for 10 hours and 15 minutes since it departed. Thankfully, there were no injuries and all 299 passengers arrived safely. However, they might have been a bit bored, as, during the flight, around 25 percent of the inflight entertainment screens became inactive.

Air France
Air France has strong connections with French-administered territories outside the European continent. Photo: Air France

Previous occurrence

Earlier this year, a similar incident happened with an Air France Boeing 777 traveling to a French overseas department in the Caribbean. The Aviation Herald previously reported that in January, a 777-300 that flying from Paris Orly to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe was diverted while traveling 330nm west of Lajes.

The crew on this flight had also noticed a burning odor onboard. However, this time, rather than diverting twice and heading back to France, it simply landed at Lajes after 80 minutes. During this incident, a replacement aircraft was sent from Paris to the Azores to continue the journey.

Air France
A similar incident involving an Air France flight over the Atlantic Ocean happened earlier this year. Photo: Air France

Other incidents

Burning odors have been reported a few times this year on flights operated by different airlines. Earlier this week, a United Airlines Boeing 757 made an emergency landing at Newark airport due to the smell of smoke.

Additionally, in September, An American Airlines Boeing 767 had been diverted after a burning odor was noticed in the cabin. Before that, an American Airlines A330 heading for London from Philadelphia had made a diversion to Boston after a fume incident.

Strong odors in tight spaces such as an aircraft could indicate serious problems. Last month, An American Airlines A330 traveling from London Heathrow to Philadelphia had to divert to Dublin. This was after two cabin crew members fell unconscious due to strong cleaning chemicals that had spilled on the carpet.

Simple Flying reached out to Air France for comment on the cause of the incident but didn’t hear back before comment. We will update the publication with any further comment.

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