Air France A380 Flight Suffers Mid Air Engine Failure En Route To Paris

On Sunday, an Air France A380 flying from Abidjan (DIAP) to Paris (LFPG) suffered an engine failure as it entered the cruise stage of the flight. The A380 carrying 501 passengers turned around and headed back to its origin. The incident appears to have taken place in the number one engine, that is to say, the leftmost engine.

The aircraft, registered F-HPJC, turned back to Abidjan where it has remained since as maintenance takes place on the engine. The passengers were rescued by a replacement Boeing 777 which departed the airport on Monday.

What happened?

On Sunday (10th March 2019) an Airbus A380 departed the gate at Abidjan with 501 passengers on board operating AF703. It pushed back at 2322UTC, taking off at 2339UTC. The aircraft completed a normal takeoff and climb, however, trouble began as the aircraft began to cruise.

Air France Engine Failure
An Air France A380 suffered a contained engine failure on Sunday. Photo: Air France

While flight data recording is sketchy in the area, it appears to show that the aircraft reached a cruise altitude of 37,000ft. At around 0013UTC the aircraft began to descend quite rapidly to 33,000ft in the space of around three minutes, before levelling off. After reaching 33,000ft the aircraft began to turn back toward Abidjan. The A380 safely returned to Abidjan, however, Baudelaire Mieu, a Bloomberg Journalist, told AFP that the jet “continued to vibrate all the way back to Abidjan.”

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Another engine blowout

Images of the damaged engine appear to show that parts of two fan blades have broken off. Thankfully, the engine failure was contained by the casing as it is designed to. In September 2017 another Air France A380 suffered severe engine failure. The aircraft was flying from Paris to Los Angeles when it experienced an uncontained failure of the number 4 engine. That aircraft had to make an emergency landing at Goose Bay in Canada.

Air France Engine Failure
On Sunday the aircraft returned to its origin. Photo: Air France

Air France Statement

Simple Flying reached out to an Air France representative who told us: “Air France confirms that the crew of flight AF703 on 9th March from Abidjan to Paris-CDG by Airbus A380 decided to turn back to Abidjan at the beginning of the cruise phase following a malfunction of one of the 4 engines. The aircraft landed normally in Abidjan at 01:18 (universal time)”

Air France Engine Failure
Air France dispatched a Boeing 777-200 to rescue stranded passengers. Photo: Air France

They went on to add: “Air France regrets the inconvenience caused by this event and states that the safety of its customers and crews is its absolute priority.” A Boeing 777 was dispatched to Abidjan by Air France to rescue stranded passengers. The aircraft departed at 1032UTC on Monday, arriving in Paris at 1831UTC as AF4191.

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