Avianca Cargo Airbus A330-200 Diverts To Madrid Over Electrical Degradation

An Avianca Cargo A330-200 freighter experienced ‘electrical degradation’ over Northern Ireland on August 29th, 2020, just outside of Belfast. The A330 was flying from Amsterdam to Miami when the crew reported a ‘minor technical problem’ as it was flying just over Northern Ireland. The flight initially diverted to its origin at Amsterdam but was subsequently directed to divert to Madrid instead.

avianca cargo a330
Avianca Cargo, formerly known as TAMPA, has a fleet of six Airbus A330-200 freighters. Photo: Juan Carlos Medau via Wikimedia Commons

Incident details

According to The Aviation Herald, the Avianca Cargo Airbus A330-200 freighter was performing flight QT4046 from Amsterdam to Miami, having taken off at 19:35 local time. Flying at FL340 about 60nm west of the Northern Ireland capital of Belfast, the crew decided to return to Amsterdam, citing a minor technical problem as their reason.

The aircraft descended to FL180 for its return to Amsterdam. Nearing Amsterdam, the crew descended the aircraft to FL100, advising the airport that no assistance and no emergency services were needed. They further reported that they just had an electrical degradation in their plane, preventing the Oceanic crossing.

A short time later, the crew reported to Amsterdam that their company had requested that they divert to Madrid instead and climbed to FL230. Redirecting to Madrid, the aircraft performed a safe landing about five and a half hours after they decided to turn back to Amsterdam while over Northern Ireland.

The aircraft is still on the ground in Madrid at the time of this article’s publication. There are no future flights listed for the plane yet.

The flight experienced an issue while flying over Northern Ireland and decided to return to its origin of Amsterdam. However, en route, it was re-diverted to Madrid instead. Photo: 

About the aircraft

The aircraft is an A330-200 freighter registered as N331QT. The aircraft, according to Airfleets, is just over seven and a half years old and first entered service with cargo airline TAMPA. This airline was subsequently renamed and merged to become Avianca Cargo, and the aircraft carried over to the new company in May of 2013.

Avianca Getty
Avianca Cargo, while sharing the same general branding, is a separate division from Avianca’s passenger airline. Avianca’s passenger airline uses the 787-8 for its long-haul services. Photo: Getty Images

The Airbus A330-200 freighter is also in service with numerous major airlines around the world, including Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Egyptair, and Hong Kong Air Cargo. There are about 37 A330-243F actively flying. These are -200 freighters powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-60 engines.

For experienced pilots out there, what do you think this ‘electrical degradation’ and ‘minor technical problem’ might be? What would be severe enough for a diversion, descending to FL180, but not require emergency services? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment!

Simple Flying contacted Avianca requesting more details with regards to the problem experienced by the crew. However, at the time of publication, the company has yet to respond to our request. We will update this article if any new information is received.