An Air Asia X flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur experienced technical issues with one of the engines causing the aircraft to vibrate violently to the point where the pilot urged passengers to pray via the intercom.
This rather unconventional announcement certainly didn’t help to calm down passengers on board as the flight prepared to eventually turn back to Australia.
The incident comes after previous issues with the Rolls Royce Trent 700 engine within the last six weeks where a China Eastern as well as an Egypt Air flight both ran into trouble.
CNN reported about it this morning (access here):
An AirAsia X flight to Malaysia from Perth, Australia, was forced to turn back Sunday after the twin-aisle Airbus A330-300 aircraft began shaking due to what the airline called a “technical issue.”
A spokesman for the Perth Airport said, “The pilot identified a technical issue with the engine. The plane turned around and safely landed back at Perth Airport.” “We were asleep and heard a loud bang around the 1-hour-and-15-minute mark,” passenger Damien Stevens told CNN. “It shook for the whole ride back, close on two hours.”
Stevens and friend Mitch Jamieson were on their way to Myanmar for a holiday. Stevens said the pilot asked passengers to pray twice. And passengers were told to hold “the brace position” for about two minutes during the landing, he said, which was smooth. He praised the pilot, who shook hands with everyone after the flight was over. “The plane erupted with applause once we landed. …
AirAsia X Berhad confirmed in a statement that flight D7237 for Kuala Lumpur took off at 6:40 a.m. local time with 359 passengers on board and landed back at Perth Airport shortly before 10 a.m. AirAsia X is the long-haul arm of low-cost carrier AirAsia, one of the largest low-cost airlines in the world.
“The safety of our guests is our utmost priority,” the airline said in a statement.
The issue with the jet’s Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engine is the second significant incident this month and the third since May. A China Eastern Airlines A330, also powered by Trent 700s, was forced to turn back to Sydney just after takeoff for Shanghai after part of its engine nacelle broke apart. Similar damage was sustained on an EgyptAir flight in May.
Here is a Youtube video of Australia based Channel 7 News showing the situation on board:
The gentleman in Business Class looks concerned and distressed while taking this video as probably most people would have been.
I don’t think this has much to do with the airline being Air Asia as it has been commented on various social media platforms. The airline is pretty reliable and just because it’s a budget carrier doesn’t necessarily make it unsafe. The pilot also acted in a very professional way to personally send the passengers off.
On 28 December 2014 Air Asia suffered it’s so far only fatal crash when one of their Airbus A320 crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 155 passengers and 7 crew on board. Thankfully this incident ended without any injuries or casualties.