Ethiopian B788 near Jeddah on Mar 5th 2019, "minor technical problem"

Last Update: March 10, 2019 / 19:47:23 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Mar 5, 2019

Classification
Incident

Flight number
ET-502

Destination
Dublin, Ireland

Aircraft Registration
ET-AOP

ICAO Type Designator
B788

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787-8, registration ET-AOP performing flight ET-502 (sch.dep. Mar 4th) from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to Dublin (Ireland), was enroute at FL400 over the Red Sea about 60nm southwest of Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) when the crew selected the emergency squawk into the transponder and descended the aircraft to FL100 being level at FL100 9 minutes after leaving FL400 (average sinkrate 3333 fpm). The aircraft turned around to return to Addis Ababa. About 10 minutes after levelling off at FL100 the aircraft climbed back to FL240 maintaining FL240 until reaching the top of descent into Addis Ababa. The aircraft landed safely back in Addis Ababa about 2:20 hours after leaving FL400.

The airline apologized to their passengers for the "minor technical problem", a replacement aircraft would take them to Dublin.

A replacement Boeing 787-8 registration ET-AOQ reached Dublin with a delay of 6:15 hours.

The occurrence aircraft returned to service 21 hours after landing back.

On Mar 10th 2019 The Aviation Herald received information that the aircraft was enroute at FL400 with no cockpit indication, however, the passenger oxygen masks were released and most of the passenger service units were activated. The crew initiated an emergency descent. Once level at FL100 the crew assessed the situation, however, no reason was apparent of why the oxygen masks had been released. The crew therefore decided to climb to FL240 and return to Addis Ababa. No second depressurization occurred on the way back. Maintenance subsequently found the forward cargo door seal was damaged, the high difference of cabin pressre to ambient pressure (at FL400) caused the cargo door to shift slightly out of position releasing the cabin air causing a loss of cabin pressure. The seal subsequently closed again at FL100. All passenger service units were replaced, the seal was replaced. An investigation has been initiated into why the crew climbed back to FL240 returning to Addis Ababa and did not divert to avoid high terrain (MSA around Addis Ababa 14,500 feet, highest mountain peak 3200 meters/10500 feet MSL) on the way back.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Mar 5, 2019

Classification
Incident

Flight number
ET-502

Destination
Dublin, Ireland

Aircraft Registration
ET-AOP

ICAO Type Designator
B788

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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