easyJet A320 Returns To Berlin With Pressurisation Issues

An easyJet A320 returned to Berlin after facing cabin pressurization issues on its flight to Thessaloniki. The flight attempted to climb twice before it decided to return to Berlin, just 90 minutes after takeoff. The plane landed safely with no passenger injuries.

easyJet A320
The plane involved in the incident was an Airbus A320-200, registered OE-IVC, pictured above. Photo: Eric Salard via Flickr

The incident

The plane involved in the incident is a 3.7-year-old Airbus A320-200, coming into service with easyJet in 2016. The plane was first registered with easyJet UK, before being transferred to its European subsidiary with the registration OE-IVC, according to Planespotters.net.

easyjet A320
easyJet exclusively operates a fleet of Airbus A320s. Photo: Getty Images

The flight departed from Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport for Thessaloniki Airport on July 1st, as a part of easyJet’s limited services. However, the flight ran into problems soon after takeoff. After takeoff, pilots stopped the climb at around 15,000 feet due to cabin pressurization issues. The flight continued toward Thessaloniki, once again attempting to climb but had to stop at 16,500 fleet due to the same issue.

After reaching the Polish/Czech Republic border, pilots decided to turn around and fly back to Berlin airport. The 207-mile return journey took place at a lower altitude of 10,000 feet to prevent any pressurization issues. The flight then landed safely at Berlin 90 minutes after takeoff.

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Pressurization issues

While an investigation is underway, incident reports state the plane suffered cabin pressurization issues. During takeoff, planes need to maintain a certain cabin pressure to ensure optimal oxygen levels for everyone on board. If a cabin fails to pressurize, or depressurizes, passengers need to wear the yellow masks we see in planes, to ensure a supply of oxygen.

airline oxygen mask breifing
Passengers must wear oxygen masks in the event of cabin depressurization. Photo: Getty

On this easyJet flight, it is possible that pilots were alerted that the pressurization system was not working optimally, forcing them to halt their climb to prevent depressurization. While this might have been a system error the first time, the second occurrence likely alerted pilots to a larger issue. This made the decision to return to Berlin was a correct one, since planes usually rise to over 33,000 feet on their cruising altitude.

Further investigation

The incident is now under investigation by both easyJet and regulatory authorities. This flight was the first time the Berlin to Thessaloniki routes was being operated by easyJet since March. easyJet has been slowly restarting a number of routes, as borders reopen and demand ticks up. 

easyJet, Flight Resumption, June 15th
easyJet resumed flights after nearly three months on the ground. Photo: easyJet

A replacement A320 took the returned passengers to their destination, reaching 5 hours later than planned. The plane involved in the incident will now undergo maintenance to find the source of the problem and fix it, a process that may take a while.

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