SIA Airbus loses power to engines en route to China
A SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) Airbus plane carrying 194 people temporarily lost power to both engines on a recent flight to Shanghai, SIA confirmed yesterday, after a flight tracker said the plane had to descend 13,000ft before normal operation was restored.
The carrier said it was investigating Saturday's incident together with Airbus and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.
"We are not able to provide further information but we can confirm that the same aircraft was used for the return flight," an airline spokesman told Agence France-Presse.
In a statement, SIA said the Airbus A330-300, carrying 182 passengers and 12 crew members, "encountered bad weather at 39,000ft about 31/2 hours after departure" from Singapore.
"Both engines experienced a temporary loss of power and the pilots followed operational procedures to restore normal operation of the engines," it said.
"The flight continued to Shanghai and touched down uneventfully at 10.56pm local time," it said.
It added that the engines "were thoroughly inspected and tested upon arrival in Shanghai with no anomalies detected".
In a Twitter post late on Tuesday, industry portal Flightradar24 said SQ836 "lost power on both engines and 13,000ft before power returned".
In a subsequent post, it said the plane "lost both engines during the cruise" while flying through a "huge storm", pinpointing an area in the South China Sea off China's southern coast where the incident occurred.
Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor at aviation information firm Flightglobal, said the incident was a "very unusual occurrence" that "highlights the requirements of rigorous pilot training".
"Generally, these engines are extremely reliable and they work continuously for 13 to 14 hours a day for months and years," he said.
He added that as passengers did not seem to have commented on the incident on social media after the weekend, it indicated that they may have been unaware of the engine problem.
"This is speculation, but from the inside of the aircraft it could have been that the power loss was not obvious," Mr Waldron said.