Engine Issues Prompt Delta Airbus A350 To Divert To Alaska

A Delta Air Lines Airbus A350 has had to divert to Alaska after suffering engine problems. The aircraft has landed and remains grounded, as the passengers flew onwards on a replacement A350.

Delta Air Lines, LATAM, Codeshare
A Delta Air Lines Airbus A350 has had to divert to Alaska due to an engine failure. Photo: Airbus

What are the details?

Delta Air Lines flight DL-159 from Detroit to Seoul, Korea was flying over the Beaufort Sea when the cockpit noticed something wrong.

According to The Aviation Herald, they received an unusual reading from one of their engines (a Trent XWB) and decided to take the aircraft down from 38,000 feet to 22,000 feet. Once they had performed a diagnostic, they determined that the best course of action would be to divert the aircraft to Fairbanks, Alaska.


They informed the passengers on board that they were diverting due to an engine issue.

The route of the flight. Photo: Flight Aware

Approximately two hours later, the aircraft landed safely, coming to a rolling stop on the runway. Emergency services raced out to meet the aircraft but determined that everything was safe and that no emergency evacuation was needed. They had been briefed that the right-hand engine of the aircraft had been shut down in flight.

We don’t know if the Delta A350 had flown the whole two hours on a single-engine at this stage.


The passengers were taken to the airport and informed that they would need to wait at the airport for over 12 hours. Naturally, they were put up in the town for the night and welcomed by the locals.

Then, a replacement A350 arrived and was able to continue the flight. The passengers eventually arrived around 21 hours later, a few hours AFTER the next flight in the Delta schedule.

The route of the replacement aircraft. Photo: Flight Aware

Interestingly, this event marks the first time that an Airbus A350-900 has landed at Fairbanks Airport (FAI).

The additional flight added to the Delta schedule. Photo: Flight Aware

The existing Delta A350 is still sitting on the tarmac in Fairbanks.

What has been the official reply?

Speaking to WebCenter 11, Fairbanks Airport had this statement:

“At approximately 2:15 p.m., Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) was notified that a Delta Airlines Airbus 350-900 was experiencing mechanical difficulties with an engine and would need to make an emergency landing at FAI. The plane originated in Detroit and was en route to Seoul, South Korea.

The aircraft landed safely at FAI at 3:46 p.m. with 189 passengers and crew on board. FAI Police and Fire and the University Fire Department were on standby. No other flights were impacted by the landing.

The diverted passengers will overnight in Fairbanks. Passengers are being cared for at the terminal while they wait for luggage. FAI staff is working with Delta Airlines to ensure they have safe transportation and [are working] with Explore Fairbanks to coordinate lodging.

FAI extends a warm welcome to these passengers, despite the surprise diversion and the -14 degree temperatures. A special thanks goes to University Fire Department and Explore Fairbanks for immediately assisting the airport.”

Simple Flying reached out to Delta Air Lines for comment and to ask how long the grounded A350 will remain, however at the time of publishing they have not replied.

What do you think about this news? Let us know in the comments.


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High Mile Club

I wonder if this is just a one off incident or the start of a potential AD in the works. Newer engines are pushing the limits of jet turbine tech as it is, so I’m not surprised an A350 would eventually get on reported on it.


And Rolls Royce has had quite a lot of reliability problems in recent years.


In all fairness, they have all had their issues. The trouble is, to change a part of the engine architecture as a result of a fault means thousands of hours of testing to make sure the fix will last thousands of hours without further incident!

High Mile Club

Which has me worried if RR loses its credibility and everyone looks to GE for their engines, that would place a lot of pressure on one company, and I don’t think they could handle it well. In an industry this big, there needs to be multiple manufacturers to meet the rate of demand, which is why I shake my head at those wishing Boeing goes under. Airbus may be big, but if they run into problems then who will pick up the slack? At the moment, they’re doing the heavy lifting because Boeing broke its leg, but once it gets… Read more »


Pratt and Whitney are there, too!


With what the U.S. Government is doing to Boeing, they have as much chance of getting “back on its feet” as a goldfish.


Seems to me they are paying the price for their own bad management and poor decision making.


All the engine manufacturers (bar none) are having or have had development problems. Striving for economy, more power, lower costs has a price of its own. The number of engines by any one maker is also a factor to consider. Rolls Royce has of the order 12000 to 14000 engines in operation. I seem to recall GE has over 20000 in operation. That’s a lot of engines!! I just looked up Pratt and Whitney, they claim 16000.


How I enjoyed the four engine safety. If we lost an engine we could carry on with the mission, and sometimes did.