American Airlines Boeing 757 Returns To Shannon With Right Engine Issue

An American Airlines flight from Shannon, Ireland to Philadelphia, USA was forced to make a swift U-turn yesterday (22/08/19) due to an engine malfunction.

AA B757 landing
American Airlines Boeing 757 forced to return to airport due to low power. Photo: Venkat Mangudi [CC BY 2.0]
Flight AA-89 took off at 11:35 local time on its 7.5 hour transatlantic flight. Shortly after leaving the ground, the flight crew reported a low power warning from the starboard engine. The pilot did not declare a Mayday but requested an immediate return to Shannon.

The 757-200 was instructed to level off at 5,000 feet and enter a hold in order to burn off fuel. An aircraft fully-laden with fuel would otherwise exceed its maximum landing weight. The aircraft entered a holding pattern north east of SNN.

Around 45 minutes after departing, according to Aviation Herald, the crew declared their intention to perform an “overweight landing”. The Boeing 757, which had 138 passengers and 8 crew members on board, landed safely.

Emergency crews on the ground were directed to holding points along the runway. However, after landing, no further assistance on the ground was deemed necessary.

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Engine tests

Despite the absence of a Mayday call from the flight crew, emergency ground staff were mobilized as the aircraft landed. Fire and rescue outfits followed the aircraft along the runway.

The plane made an about turn at the end of the runway and taxied to a stand.

AA B757 on apron
No Mayday call but Shannon emergency crews in attendance (not aircraft shown). Photo: Ian Gratton from Sutton-n-Craven, North Yorkshire, England [CC BY 2.0]
After the passengers were deplaned at the gate, engineers ran checks. The cause of the engine malfunction could not be ascertained and the flight was canceled.

Thereafter, the aircraft was moved to a taxiway in order that the flight crew could conduct full power engine tests. According to the Irish Examiner, the engine tests failed; the same fault was encountered.

Some industry observers suggest a mechanical malfunction of the engine pressure lines due to water contamination.

Passengers stay over at Shannon

The passengers from the plane were taken to local hotels for the night. A spokesperson for American told the Irish Examiner, “Customers have been provided overnight accommodation and the flight will re-depart Friday as AA9240.”

American Airlines 757
AA has extended the in-service lifespan of many older aircraft, including the 757. Photo: Wikimedia

American Airlines have provided us with a comment and update on the incident,

Flight 89 to Philadelphia (PHL) returned to Shannon (SNN) shortly after takeoff yesterday due to a mechanical issue. The flight landed safely and our maintenance team is currently evaluating the aircraft. There were 138 passengers and 8 crew onboard. Customers were rebooked on other flights to the United States and were provided with overnight accommodations, if required.”

Other incidents

The latest headache for American Airlines comes just a day after two other incidents.

On August 21st an AA Airbus A319-100 collided with temporary runway threshold lights in place close to the threshold of the runway at Georgetown airport, Guyana. The nose tires and starboard main tire were disabled. The aircraft remained on the ground for 27 hours, according to AeroInside but was not canceled.

On the same day, as we reported, an Airbus A321-200 from Los Angeles to New York was 30 miles west of Abilene, Texas when the flight crew reported smoke in the cockpit. The aircraft descended rapidly and made a safe landing at the small GA airport.

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