Ryanair Boeing 737 Returns To Bucharest With Cabin Full Of Smoke

A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 had to return to its departure airport earlier today as the cabin was filled with smoke. The aircraft, already a replacement for the scheduled service, landed safely back at Bucharest Otopeni Airport in Romania. Passengers were unharmed and subsequently picked up by a different Ryanair plane.

EI-EVH, a Boeing 737-800, had a smoke-filled cabin. Photo: Rob Hodgkins via Wikimedia

What happened?

The Aviation Herald has reported today on an incident in Romania involving a Ryanair aircraft. The floight, FR-1006, was due to leave Bucharest at 06:40 this morning, heading to London Stansted Airport. However, due to difficulties with the assigned aircraft, passengers had to wait for a replacement aircraft, EI-EVH, to be prepared to take them.

Conditions in Bucharest are pretty cold at this time of year, with temperatures that early in the morning hovering at around -4°C (24°F), so the aircraft needed to be de-iced before it could make the journey.

Bucharest Airport
Winter conditions at Bucharest Airport can get pretty tough. Photo: Bucharest Airport

Eventually, the flight an all its passengers departed the stand at 10:57 local time. The approximately 2 hour 45 mins flight should have seen them landing at London in time for lunch, however, things did not go to plan.

Just minutes into the flight, as the aircraft was climbing through around 5,000 feet, the crew declared Mayday Mayday, signaling an emergency in progress. Flight crew advised the airport that there was smoke in the cabin, and that they needed to return to Otopeni Airport.

Situation improving

Thankfully, a few moments later, the crew canceled the Mayday call, and said that the situation was ‘improving’.  According to the Av Herald report, the ‘smoke’ was thought to have been caused by improper de-icing procedures at the airport. Perhaps, due to rushing to get the aircraft in service for the flight, this was indeed the case?

As the situation was no longer critical, the crew opted to burn off fuel before heading back to the airport. The flight track clearly shows the aircraft entering a hold and circling perhaps seven or eight times before returning to OTP.

Ryanair flight
The Ryanair flight circled to burn off fuel. Photo: Flight Radar 24

Flight Radar shows the aircraft touching down at 10:15 local time, just over two hours since it took off. A fairly irritating flight to nowhere, but not the longest we’ve ever seen.

EI-EVH, a seven year old Boeing 737-800,  is still on the ground in Bucharest at the time of writing.

The airline’s take

We reached out to Ryanair to find out what happened on the flight. The airline told us,

“This flight from Bucharest to London (21 Jan) was delayed due to a minor technical issue with aircraft. To minimise the delay, customers boarded a replacement aircraft which was de-iced before it departed to London.

“Shortly after take-off the aircraft returned to Bucharest as a precaution after the cabin crew reported an unidentified smoke in the cabin (which we believe was caused by the de-icing fluid being ingested through the air conditioning system). The crew notified local ATC and the aircraft landed normally at Bucharest, where it is being inspected by Ryanair engineers.

“Refreshment vouchers were provided and passengers boarded another replacement aircraft which departed for London Stansted shortly after. Ryanair sincerely apologised to affected customers for this delay.”

Were you on board FR1006? Did you make it to London in the end? Let us know in the comments.