Qatar Boeing 777 Returns To Doha With “Hole In Engine”

Qatar’s route from Doha to Auckland was once the longest in the world. However, yesterday it became one of the carrier’s shortest. Flight QR920 was forced to return to Doha after dumping fuel. The reason was reportedly down to a hole in the engine’s cowling appearing after takeoff.

Qatar Airways, Boeing 777, Engine Hole
A Qatar Airways Boeing 777 had to return to its origin yesterday after what a passenger described as a hole appeared in the right engine. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

While problems with engines do happen, given how many flights safely operate each day they can catch our eye. In this case, a Boeing 777 was forced to return to Doha with engine troubles. A passenger who was on the flight reports that a hole developed in the engine which was 40cm in circumference.

The details

Qatar flight QR920 is one of the worlds longest, with a duration of 16-hours and 45-minutes travelling from Doha to Aukland. The flight has a distance of just over 9,000 miles as the crow flies. The route is operated by a Boeing 777 and, on Sundays, leaves Doha at 03:00 in the morning. Following the 16-hour 45-minute flight, it is scheduled to touch down at 04:45 the next day in Auckland.

Yesterday (11th of August 2019), however, the flight was slightly different. After departure, the captain noticed a technical fault and declared an emergency. The flight then circled over the sea, in order to dump fuel. It is often necessary to dump fuel in these situations as the aircraft is above is the maximum permitted landing weight.

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Qatar Airways Boeing 777 Engine Hole
The aircraft dumped fuel before returning to its origin. Photo:

Following several loops of a holding pattern over the sea adjacent to Doha, the aircraft went to land back at its origin. The Aviation Herald reports that the aircraft was airborne for around an hour and 15-minutes. The publication also shared an image supposedly showing a hole in the engine which a passenger described as being 40cm by 40cm.

According to data from, the aircraft involved (A7-BBC), was replaced by another Boeing 777. The replacement aircraft landed in Auckland around 5-hours and 45-minutes behind schedule.

Qatar Airways, Boeing 777, Engine Hole
Thankfully the aircraft landed safely in Doha without further incident. Photo: Boeing

Qatar Airways response

According to the NZ Herald, Qatar Airways issued a statement regarding the incident which reads the following:

“Qatar Airways can confirm that flight QR920 flying from Doha to Auckland Airport declared an emergency due to a technical fault following take-off and returned to Hamad International Airport. The crew took all necessary precautions and the aircraft proceeded to land safely and without incident.

Thankfully the aircraft went on to land safely in Doha, where data from shows that is has been on the ground ever since. It has been reported in the media that when the aircraft did land in Doha, it was quickly surrounded by fire engines spraying water.

Were you onboard QR920 yesterday? Let us know your experience in the comments section.

  1. Not wishing to be pedantic, but was the hole in the engine nacelle / cowl / casing, rather than the engine itself? Or are we talking about a hole in the actual engine? I assume the former, but nothing surprises me any more w.r.t. aircraft engine events…

  2. I was on this flight! At some point shortly after take-off the captain informed us that we would return to Doha for safety reasons. While the plane was dumping fuel, the cabin became uncomfortable warm. The air-conditioning was not working either as a direct result of the fault or because it had to be shut down as a precaution. All this time there was an eerie silence in the cabin. Everybody seemed to be alert but calm and quiet. The flight was very smooth and quiet without anything out of the ordinary perceived in the cabin.
    The roll-out upon landing was very long. I don’t think that the crew applied any engine braking and the aircraft used the full length of the runway before evacuating. We were greeted by a fleet of emergency vehicles with beacons on (including fire engines) at a remote location of the tarmac. At the same time the flight attendants assumed emergency evacuation positions at the exits (something that didn’t go ahead). I did not notice water being sprayed onto the aircraft. After about 5 minutes the plane taxied with its own power closer to the terminal. Later I heard from another passenger that they had seen some sparks coming out from one engine. Overall, I thought everything was handled very professionally by Qatar staff, both in the air and on the ground. The passengers didn’t feel a thing.

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