FMS Failure Prompts A Malta Air Boeing 737 To Divert To Cologne

A Malta Air aircraft operating on behalf of Ryanair suffered an FMS failure shortly after takeoff. The Boeing 737-800 took off from Cologne when the crew reported Flight Management System (FMS) failure. Fortunately, the crew was able to safely land the aircraft and passengers eventually deplaned in Cologne. Passengers were accommodated on an alternate Boeing 737-800 procured from Ryanair. Malta Air is a subsidiary of Ryanair.

Malta Air, Ryanair, London Stansted
A Malta Air Boeing 737-800 suffered an FMS failure after takeoff from Cologne. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying 

Malta Air 737 flight management system failure

On October 5th, 2019, a Malta Air Boeing 737-800 registered as 9H-QAK took off from Cologne as flight FR409 en route to Copenhagen. As the aircraft was climbing out, according to reporting from the Aviation Herald, the crew reported the failure of both Flight Management Systems.

After this reporting, the crew then returned to Cologne and landed safely. Ryanair sourced a replacement Boeing 737-800 which departed Cologne about nine hours after the scheduled departure time.

Ryanair 737
Ryanair sourced a Boeing 737-800 to transport the passengers, although with a nine-hour delay. Photo: Ryanair

It is unclear what caused the FMS failure. Such incidents are rare in the aviation world. Data from Flight Radar 24 indicates that the aircraft is still on the ground in Cologne and not scheduled to operate any flights at the moment. It is likely that the aircraft is undergoing maintenance. However, it is unknown exactly what went wrong and how much repair is needed.

Ryanair 737
The 737 is still on the ground after the incident. Photo: Ryanair

What is the flight management system?

The flight management system (FMS) is an onboard computer that is integral to flight. This system processes data and provides pilots with key indicators including navigation that helps pilots stay on course and arrive safely.

The FMS is able to handle data from multiple sensors and provide key data points to pilots. As such, this kind of failure can have quite an impact on inflight operations.

Ryanair 737
Ryanair procured a Boeing 737-800 to ferry passengers on the flight. Photo: Ryanair

Who is Malta Air?

Malta Air is a subsidiary of Ryanair. The low-cost carrier took over the carrier earlier this year with plenty of growth in mind. It took over some Boeing 737s from Ryanair and, as such, the aircraft are still in Ryanair livery. You can tell if you’re flying Malta Air because the aircraft will have a few key markers. However, these are small enough that you may miss them if you do not pay attention.

Malta Air, Ryanair, Boeing 737
The aircraft has a small sticker stating “Operated By Malta Air”. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

You can also find the registration of the aircraft with the flag of Malta.

FMS Failure Prompts A Malta Air Boeing 737 To Divert To Cologne
The aircraft will carry a Maltese registration. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Simple Flying’s own Tom Boon flew Malta Air from London Stansted to Cologne a few days ago. According to his account, there was nothing out of the ordinary compared to a normal Ryanair flight.

Were you onboard this flight? What happened? Have you flown with Malta Air? Let us know in the comments!