After experiencing a problem with cabin pressure, an Austrian Airlines Dash 8-400 operating a flight from Vienna to Stuttgart was forced to return to Vienna on Thursday. The crew declared an emergency and initiated a rapid descent, but the aircraft landed safely.
Dash 8 emergency descent incident
The Aviation Herald reported that on September 24th, an Austrian Airlines de Havilland Dash 8-400 operating flight OS-177 from Vienna, Austria, to Stuttgart in Germany experienced cabin pressure problems. The aircraft, registration OE-LGK, carrying 21 passengers and four crew, was flying at FL240 around 30nm northeast of Salzburg.
The crew advised they were having technical difficulties and initiated an emergency descent to FL140. The crew initially intended to continue to Bavaria, but subsequently decided to return to Vienna. After descending to FL100, the aircraft made a right-hand turn onto its return heading. Around 65 minutes after its departure, the plane landed safely at Vienna.
The passengers transferred to a replacement aircraft, an Embraer ERJ-195, registration OE-LWI. The flight arrived in Stuttgart three hours behind schedule.
Simple Flying reached out to Austrian Airlines for comment, and a spokesman said,
“Thursday’s OS 177 from Vienna to Stuttgart, operated by a Dash 8 (Reg. OE-LGK), had problems with cabin pressure about 30 minutes after takeoff. The crew therefore reported an air emergency to air traffic control and performed an emergency descent to 10,000 feet. After the descent, the air emergency status was withdrawn. The aircraft continued its flight at 10,000 feet and landed safely back in Vienna about one hour after takeoff. The passengers (21 persons) and the crew (four persons: two cockpit, two cabin) were safe at all times. Austrian Airlines apologizes to the affected passengers for the inconvenience caused.”
Recent Austrian Airlines incidents
The Dash 8 cabin pressure problem is not the first to involve Austrian Airlines this year. On February 12th, the crew of an Embraer ERJ-195, registration OE-LWG, on approach to Vienna received an indication that the emergency parking brake had come on. After working the checklists and consulting with maintenance, the aircraft landed safely.
Around 80 minutes after landing, the plane was cleared for takeoff en route to Manchester. However, pre-takeoff checks revealed a fault with the emergency brakes, and the aircraft returned to the apron. It emerged that a faulty pressure sensor caused the problem, and the plane returned to service after 10 hours on the ground.
On January 29th, another Embraer ERJ-195, registration OE-LWN, was operating a flight from Albania to Vienna. The crew received an indication that the hydraulic system had failed. They asked for emergency services to stand by for the landing. The aircraft landed safely and taxied to the apron with emergency services following.
On January 6th, the crew of yet another Austrian Airlines Embraer ERJ-195, registration OE-LWI, twice aborted their approach to Warsaw Chopin Airport after reporting a problem with the flaps and moderate icing. The plane landed safely at a higher speed than usual with emergency crews standing by.
The mixed fortunes of Austrian Airlines
Austrian Airlines, along with every other carrier, has suffered badly from the coronavirus pandemic. The airline suspended all flights in mid-March and, after five extensions to its grounding, finally took to the skies again three months later.
As many countries eased air travel restrictions, the airline began to expand its network and planned to double its services by October. Then, in mid-July, the Austrian government implemented a ban on incoming flights from 18 countries, causing Austrian Airlines to cancel flights to 14 destinations.
Now, as the airline scrambles to cut costs, the future of its long-haul operations is being called into question.
Have you experienced a loss of cabin pressure on a flight? Tell us about it in the comments.