**Update: 09/01/2020 @ 17:53 UTC. Air France provide a statement on the incident.**
An Air France A320-200 returned to Tel Aviv on Tuesday 7th January 2020 after an engine failure. The aircraft was leaving Israel for France when it got into trouble and was forced to head back to the ground. There were no casualties.
An Airbus A320-220 was on its way to Paris Charles de Gaulle when it returned to land after the failure of one of its engines. F-GKXJ was operating flight AF-1121 from Tel Aviv, leaving via runway 26. The aircraft departed at 11:00 UTC but promptly returned after takeoff because of an engine failure.
The exact cause of the engine failure is unknown. However, the swift actions of the crew ensured that the aircraft returned to land safely just 25 minutes after its departure. The Aviation Herald stated that the aircraft landed back on runway 12 in Tel Aviv and the airline reported the aircraft due to the engine failure.
As far as we know, there were no casualties in this incident. We contacted Air France for more information about this flight. It said:
“Air France confirms that following a failure on one engine a few moment after take off, the crew of flight AF1121 on 7 January 2020 from Tel Aviv TLV to Paris CDG decided to return to Tel Aviv in application of company and manufacturer instructions. The aircraft landed safely and customers were taken care of by Air France station staff before being re-routed to their final destination. Technical checks are currently being carried out by the airline’s maintenance teams. Air France reminds that its crews are regularly trained to deal with this type of failure and that the safety of its customers and crew members is its top priority.”
The engine failure
Whilst it’s not clear what did happen to the aircraft, we do know something about the aircraft’s engine itself. The engine was a CFM56. These engines are used in a broad range of aircraft from the Airbus A320 Family to the Boeing 737 NG and McDonnell Douglas DC-8. But this is not the first incident of CFM56 engine failure in recent weeks.
Just eight days ago on 1st January, a KLM Boeing 737 was forced to return to the airport after one of its CFM56 engines burst into flames. Once again, on 3rd December 2019, an Air Algerie Boeing 737-800 landed due to an engine failure. In the case of KLM, the engine was promptly fixed within two days.
The nature of Air France’s engine failure on this occasion would help us to understand how long the aircraft will be out of action. It could be a few days or, with more severe damage, maybe a few weeks.
However, no matter how long it’s out of action Air France has a particularly robust fleet of A320-200 aircraft that it can rely on. It has 42 other aircraft in this model, the latest of which, F-HZFM, is expected to enter service at some point this month.
Air France’s A320s
It seems as though Air France has quite an affinity with the A320. Not only does it have a fair few in its fleet but it’s also recently invested in the A320 cabin. In October 2019, the airline announced that it would revamp its A320-200 aircraft with more spacious and accessible cabin storage units.
With Safran Cabin, Air France will be able to increase luggage bin capacity by 60% which it said will result in speedier boarding for enhanced turnaround times. It means that the aircraft will be able to fit an additional 62 luggage items without compromising passenger comfort or safety. The retrofit is expected to happen in a two year period between September 2020 and September 2022.
Speaking at the time of the announcement in a press release, the Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at Air France said:
“Air France will be the first airline to offer these innovative luggage compartments. They will enable us to meet the high expectations of our customers wishing to travel with cabin bags only to save time during their trip. Boarding will be smoother and faster, both for them and for our crews. This represents a significant improvement in comfort and operational efficiency.”
Do you have more to offer on this story? Do you think the new luggage will help Air France’s operation efficiency? Let us know in the comments.