A China Airlines Airbus A330 on route from Hong Kong to Taipei with 243 passengers onboard was forced to shut down an engine mid-flight and return to Hong Kong.
China Airlines flight number CI-922 was on route to Taipei when passengers heard a large boom. The sound, which emanated from the right-hand engine, was heard as the aircraft was climbing above 27,000 feet, according to The Aviation Herald.
Flight crew reacted immediately, shutting down the right side General Electric CF6 turbofan engine and descending to 11,000 feet. After burning off fuel, the A330-300 successfully landed back at Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok Airport some 90 minutes after take-off.
Passengers were subsequently booked on another aircraft for the relatively short 1 hr 55 min flight.
General Electric CF6-80E1 turbofan engine
Designed especially for the Airbus A330, the General Electric CF6-80E1 uses the latest technology to lower weight and fuel burn so that airlines can maximise the potential of the aircraft.
According to General Electric, “the CF6 engine family has been the most reliable and best-selling commercial engine on wide-body aircraft.” “CF6 engines have flown more hours than any other high-bypass engine family, powering more than 10 models of wide-body aircraft. In recent years, the engine family has also played a major role in military aviation in powering transports, tankers and surveillance aircraft.”
China Airlines A330 fleet
As the national flag carrier of Taiwan, China Airlines serves 102 cities across Asia, Oceania, Europe, and North America.
Currently, China Airlines has 23 A330 aircraft in service with an average age of 11.4 years. The aircraft that suffered the mid-air engine shut down, B-18352, joined the airline in 2007.
Hong Kong to Taipei the world’s busiest international route
With close to one flight every 18 minutes the Hong Kong-Taipei route is one of the busiest international connections being flown today.
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways had the most capacity on the lucrative route with 309,439 seats available. China Airlines was second with 182,986 available seats.
Other carriers operating between Taiwan and the autonomous territory of Hong Kong include Hong Kong Airlines, EVA Airways and Cathay Dragon.
In 2017, the Taiwan News claimed that 451,801 passengers travelled the 802km between Hong Kong and Taipei, 29,313 more passengers than the second busiest international route, which is between Jakarta, Indonesia and Changi Airport, Singapore.
Interestingly, both journeys have a flight time of just less than two hours.
China Airlines looks to the future
As Taiwan’s premier airline, China Airlines are always looking to the future. As such, they have made a big decision by announcing that the Airbus A321neo will replace its existing Boeing 737-800 fleet.
The Taiwanese flag carrier will take delivery of 25 A321neos starting in 2021. The current order also includes the option to purchase five more A321neo aircraft.
As far as the ageing fleet of A330 aircraft, including the one involved in the engine shut down incident are concerned a major refit was done in 2016 to upgrade the inflight entertainment.