MIAMI – Air France Flight 66 (AF66) operating from Paris to Los Angeles has diverted to Goose Bay Airport (YYR) after a mid-air explosion of one of the engines of the Airbus A380 jet flying the route.
The A380 superjumbo (registration F-HPJE) was about three-quarters of the way across the Atlantic over Southeast Greenland when the #4 engine on the right wing of the airplane suffered an uncontained engine failure.
According to reports from passengers onboard, the plane then vibrated roughly for about 20 minutes before the pilots diverted the aircraft to Goose Bay, where passengers faced a more than two-hour wait for ground service equipment (GSE) that would allow them to disembark.
According to Air France, the aircraft safely completed the diversion and all passengers were safely evacuated from the aircraft. Further reporting revealed that a cowling in the Engine Alliance GP7200 disintegrated and that after the incident, there was a hydraulic fluid leak.
#AF66 landed safely. Customers taken care by Air France and rerouting solutions ongoing.
— Air France Newsroom (@AFnewsroom) September 30, 2017
The event on AF 66 is the second major A380 uncontained engine failure to occur mid-flight, after Qantas Flight 32 back in 2010. In that incident, a Qantas A380 flying from Singapore to Sydney suffered an uncontained engine failure due to the disintegration of a turbine disc in the planes #2 Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine.
This caused widespread damage to the aircraft (indeed far more damage than the incident on AF 66) and caused the aircraft to divert back to Singapore Changi Airport (the incident occurred over Batam Island, Indonesia).
As a result of QF 32, Qantas’ entire A380 fleet was grounded and service limitations and engine replacements were experienced by other Rolls-Royce A380 operators (Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines).
At the moment, it’s unclear whether any broad-based impact will be felt by the global A380 fleet. At the very least, despite their similarities, the two engine incidents are almost certainly not linked, as Qantas’ A380s are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is revealed.