Yesterday, an Avior Airlines Boeing 737-400 had to make an emergency descent due to the loss of cabin pressure. The aircraft was flying passengers on flight 9V-1521 from Lima, Peru to Caracas, Venezuela when the incident occurred. While oxygen masks were deployed, the aircraft made a safe landing in the Amazonian town of Tarapoto, Peru.
According to the Aviation Herald, there were 133 people on board. While there were no injuries reported, a baby was taken to a hospital to be examined as a precautionary measure. With gradual depressurization, people aboard a plane can succumb to oxygen deprivation and exposure to cold if action is not taken quickly.
As such, a reduction in altitude is often the first course of action to ensure the safety of crew and passengers. The Aviation Herald also reports that a replacement aircraft has been chartered to complete the journey onwards to Caracas.
The aircraft involved had registration YV3011 which, according to Airfleets, is a 30.6-year-old Boeing 737-400. With its first flight taking place in 1989, the aircraft was first with US Air for its eight years and then with US Airways from 1997 to 2012. It then joined the Avior fleet in 2014.
The second incident in two weeks
Unfortunately, Avior had an incident with another one of its Boeing 737-400s at the end of November. The right main landing gear of the aircraft collapsed when touching down in Bogota, Colombia.
Several sparks were in the air as passengers watched from the window of the airliner in disbelief. The crew of another aircraft at the airport reported seeing a fire. Therefore, emergency services responded and foamed around the right engine.
According to Airfleets, this aircraft is now in storage and no longer operating. With much of Avior Airlines’ fleet at over 30 years old, are they getting too old to fly? Is passenger safety at risk?
A Venezuelan airline, Avior Airlines began operating in 1994 with a single Cessna 337 Skymaster aircraft. It then added an Aerocomander 500 to the fleet shortly after. Its initial market was corporate transportation for the oil industry as well as working with tour operators. Gradual growth over the years allowed the airline to add additional propeller aircraft within several years.
Then, in September 2016, Avior added its first and only Airbus A340-300 into its fleet. Surprisingly, it had had a three-class configuration with a capacity for 255 passengers: 8 in Premium Executive class, 28 in Executive and 219 in Economy class.
One Mile at a Time wrote about this last year as the aircraft was doing a five times weekly service between Miami (MIA) and Barcelona, Venezuela (BLA). Airfleets shows that this aircraft is now in storage and no longer operating commercial passenger service.
With this latest incident being the second reported in as many weeks, Avior should be reviewing its maintenance procedures. Furthermore, it should be assessing how much longer these aging aircraft can fly.
Do you think 30-year-old aircraft are too old to safely fly? Would you take the chance and board an Avior Airlines flight? Let us know in the comments.
We reached out to Avior to get more information. However, no response was received at the time of publishing.