Air France Boeing 777 Returns To Beijing After Overpressure In AC Pipe

An Air France Boeing 777 was forced into an emergency landing today after a technical failure. Shortly after taking off from Beijing, the 777 suffered a problem with one of its air conditioning pipes. Just one minute into takeoff, passengers heard a loud bang before smoke filled the cabin. The aircraft landed back at Beijing International Airport approximately 14 minutes after departure with no reported injuries.

Air France
An Air France Boeing 777 suffered a “technical incident” after taking off from Beijing. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Loud bang and smoke after taking off

Air France flight AF393 from Beijing to Paris suffered a technical problem just one minute after taking off, forcing it to make an emergency landing. The problem is believed to have occurred due to overpressurization in an air conditioning pipe, causing a loud bang and smoke to fill the cabin.

The early morning flight, scheduled to depart at 02:30 but delayed until 03:45, returned to Beijing less than 15 minutes after taking off due to the incident. Air France has called the event a “technical incident.” The aircraft was a Boeing 777-300ER (registration: F-GSQD).

Air France said in a statement,

“A failure of the aircraft’s pneumatic system resulted in overpressurization in one of the air conditioning pipes, which spread residue and dust in the cabin.”

Shortly after taking off, passengers reported hearing a loud bang and a smell of burning before black smoke began to fill the cabin. The incident occurred at seat row 52, with pictures appearing to show damage to an air conditioning pipe. Flight attendants rushed to the area with fire extinguishers and also removed the seat cushions from the row.

Air France Boeing 777 Returns To Beijing After Overpressure In AC Pipe
F-GSQD, the aircraft involved in the incident, will now receive maintenance work. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Commons

The cabin experienced a total loss of power, but the cabin lights came back on shortly after. The plane turned back around and landed at Beijing International Airport around 14 minutes after departure. According to reports, the burning smell intensified as time went on and cabin temperatures began to rise due to the loss of air conditioning.

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There was no fire or injuries

Despite the presence of black smoke and passengers reporting an “explosion,” an Air France spokesperson has stated there was no fire onboard. Additionally, there have been no reports of any injuries sustained during the incident. A spokesperson for Air France stated that “the noise was due to overpressure in the pipe and there was no fire.”

Air France Boeing 777 Returns To Beijing After Overpressure In AC Pipe
The flight landed back in Beijing less than 15 minutes after departure. Flight data:

The Air France spokesperson added,

“The crews are regularly trained for this type of situation. Maintenance work will be carried out on the aircraft concerned before it is returned to service.”

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Passengers were shuttled from the aircraft to Beijing International Airport’s transfer area. Photo: Air France

Several emergency service vehicles, including fire trucks, police cars and ambulances, were on standby at Beijing International Airport after the plane touched down at approximately 04:00 local time. Passengers had to wait on the aircraft for around two hours before they were transferred by shuttle bus.

Another Boeing 777 flown in from Seoul

Passengers onboard the flight, many of whom were students on their way to France, will be offered alternative flights to the country. According to reports, another Air France Boeing 777 has been flown in from Seoul, Korea, to fly passengers to Paris.

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A replacement 777 has been flown in from Seoul. Photo: Air France

At 09:00 local time, passengers were informed their replacement flight would depart from Beijing at 17:30.

Were you involved in this incident? Have you ever been involved in a similar incident? Let us know your story in the comments.