Air Transat Airbus A330 Returns To Paris Following Galley Oven Smoke

Last week an Air Transat A330-300 flying from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Montreal was forced to double back to CDG. Cabin crew reported smoke emanating from a mid-galley oven. The plane landed safely 18 minutes after take-off.

Air Transat A330 landing
Oven fire required use of fire extinguishers, according to reports. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Reports Aviation Herald flight TS-111 took off on August 8th from CDG with 385 people on board. The flight was bound for Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International. At 14,000 feet, flight attendants were alerted to smoke spewing from a galley oven. According to reports, the crew deployed fire extinguishers.

Shortly after 2pm local time, the cockpit crew of the Airbus (registration C-GCTS) declared a Mayday emergency and returned to CDG 18 minutes later. The aircraft landed safely, but emergency services attended. Local medical teams treated 21 passengers and 2 crew members at the scene. 31 people received minor injuries.

According to the Aviation Safety database, no toxins were present in the cabin following the incident.

Despite the mini-furnace being removed from the aircraft, the pilot decided not to continue the flight to Canada. Passengers were provided with overnight accommodation.

The fire was extinguished before the arrival of fire fighters,” writes Aviation Safety. “Twenty-nine people were inconvenienced but none were hospitalized. Toxicological surveys carried out on the spot proved to be zero.”

Air Transat “niggles”

The third-largest Canadian carrier, Air Transat, has its hub at Montréal–Trudeau. It serves 60 destinations in 25 countries. The airline does not have the rosiest of reputations, especially in respect of passenger care. And three incidents in the last three years have dented that reputation still further.

Air Transat A330 on taxiway
Air Transat customer care in doubt. Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland [CC BY-SA 2.0], Wikimedia Commons
In March of this year, we reported on the emergency diversion of an Air Transat 737 due to “fire” in the cargo hold. An FAA inspection to know the cause of the fire was carried out.

In 2017 300 passengers on board an Airbus A330-200 were forced to endure an unpleasant delay at Ottawa International airport. This was due to bad weather on route.

According to an investigation of the incident, the cockpit crew made no request for assistance during their six-hour wait on the tarmac at Ottawa. There was insufficient food and water provided to passengers. Furthermore, some onboard complained of feeling suffocated.

A year before, a captain and co-pilot were suspended from duty for intending to fly their A310 under the influence of alcohol.

22 failures audited

In 2015 Air Transat was slammed for what Transport Canada inspectors said were “major” safety problems and a “system-wide failure” of maintenance processes. Writes CBC, the report highlighted a systematic failure of Air Transat to sufficiently maintain their aircraft.

Transport Canada’s audit revealed 22 failures including skipped checks of vital equipment on board the carrier’s 737s and the near-universal lack of appropriate knowledge and skills possessed by the workforce.

Air Transat A330 on taxiway
Carrier fortunate not to have been more severely punished after 2015 audit. Photo: Maarten Visser from Capelle aan den IJssel, Nederland [CC BY-SA 2.0], Wikimedia Commons
Air Transat was given one month to make right the problems. Some argued the conditional ‘telling off’ was a lenient measure against such a major airline.

At the time, Mark Laurence, chair of the Canadian Federal Pilots Association said that in view of the nature and severity of the problems revealed in the 2015 audit the carrier should have been threatened with suspension.

In a statement sent to CBC, Air Transat said, “none of the findings in the 2015 report ever compromised the safety of its operations, and that all of the required corrections were made ‘swiftly’ and the airline passed two subsequent inspections in 2016 and 2018.”

It remains to be seen whether the recent incident was due to poor maintenance.

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