On Thursday, May 30th, a Venezolana airlines flight from Port of Spain to Caracas suffered an engine failure and a subsequent uncontained engine fire. The aircraft was a Boeing 737-200 with registration YV502T. There were no reports of injuries to any of the 80 passengers onboard the plane.
The Boeing 737-200 was performing flight VNE-1303, departing from Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago (POS) to Caracas, Venezuela (CCS). According to Aviation Voice, the aircraft was climbing out of Port of Spain when the left hand engine, a Pratt & Whitney JT8D, failed – emitting a loud bang.
Upon failure of the engine, the crew ceased ascending and declared an emergency. The flight then made a return to Port of Spain. A safe landing was made approximately 23 minutes after departure.
Upon landing, the flight was attended to by the airport’s fire fighting team. The exploding engine had become an uncontained engine fire. Below is a tweet and image of the damage to the aircraft:
— Soy Actualidad (@soyactualidad) May 31, 2019
A post-flight inspection revealed that the engine had suffered an “uncontained failure, ejecting debris radially downwards”. Additionally, it was discovered that the fuselage received minor damage as result of the engine failure.
About the aircraft
According to AirFleets.net, YV502T is a 41.2 year old Boeing 737-200. It’s first flight was actually on March 31st, 1978. It first left the Boeing factory for Frontier Airlines in 1978 and then went on to serve as part of United Airlines’ fleet in 1985. The plane has been with Venezolana Airlines since 2011, making regular domestic flights within Venezuela as well as around the region.
As noted on Wikipedia, as of July 2018, there were a combined 58 Boeing 737-200s in service. Most of these aircraft are with “second and third tier” airlines, as well as those of developing nations.
About the airline
Venezolana had its beginnings in 2001 as a start-up by Venezuelan investors, according to Wikipedia. It was given the name RAVSA (Rutas Aéreas de Venezuela S.A.) initially. However, it was not until 2007 that operations began for the airline – this time, under the name Venezolana.
The airline flies to the following destinations:
- Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- Panama City, Panama
- Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
- Caracas, Venezuela
- Maracaibo, Venezuela
- Maturin, Venezuela
- and Porlamar, Venezuela
It’s aging fleet consists of only five aircraft: Two McDonnell Douglas MD-82 and three Boeing 737-200s. However, it should be safe to assume that that number is now two 737s.
We’ll leave you with the same question posed by user Capt. 767 on the Avherald site:
What aircraft would you choose to fly on? An old but well maintained 737-200, or a brand new 737 MAX at its current software and hardware stage? We would love to hear your responses!