Singapore Airlines aircraft loses power mid-flight

27 May 2015 by Clement Huang

A Singapore Airlines (SIA) aircraft bound for Shanghai last weekend experienced a loss of power in both of its engines mid-flight.

In response to an enquiry by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, SIA vice president, public affairs, Nicholas Ionides acknowledged the accident.

“Flight SQ836, operated by an Airbus A330-300, was bound for Shanghai from Singapore on 23 May 2015 when it encountered bad weather at 39,000 feet, about three-and-a-half hours after departure,” said Ionides.

Flightradar24, an online flight tracker that monitors air traffic in real time, reported that the sudden loss of power caused SQ863 to descend to just 13,000 feet before the crew was able to restart the engines. However, Ionides clarified that this was done so intentionally.

“Both engines experienced a temporary loss of power, although one engine returned to normal operations almost immediately. The pilots followed operational procedures to restore normal operation of the second engine by putting the aircraft into a controlled descent, before climbing again.”

SOURCE: Flightradar24; purple line indicates location of incident

According to the flight map, the incident took place just south of Hong Kong, which has experienced bad weather in the past week.

Heavy downpours led to the red rainstorm warning being hoisted last Thursday, while the more severe black signal was in force for over an hour yesterday.

The rainstorms brought air travel to a standstill over the weekend, with the South China Morning Post reporting earlier this week that thousands of passengers were affected.

Upon restoring power, SQ863 continued on its intended flight course towards Shanghai, where Ionides confirmed that it went through a series of tests. However, the cause could not be determined.

“The flight continued to Shanghai and touched down uneventfully at 2256 local time. There were 182 passengers and 12 crew on board. The engines were thoroughly inspected and tested upon arrival in Shanghai with no anomalies detected. We are reviewing the incident with Rolls-Royce and Airbus," he said.

This incident evokes memories of a similar occurrence in 1982, when a Boeing 747 aircraft operated by British Airways lost power to all four engines while flying through a cloud of volcanic ash in West Java, Indonesia. Flight BA9 was able to eventually glide past the ash cloud, and restart its engines again.

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Clement Huang

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