Monday, January 25, 2016

FlySafair Boeing 737-400, ZS-JRE: Loss of cabin pressure - two flights

A FlySafair flight had to turn back on Sunday evening due to a loss of cabin pressure - the airline's second incident in a few days.

"Flight FA103 departed from Johannesburg to Cape Town at 20:16 on 24 January 2016. As the aircraft reached approximately 32000 feet, Captain Lawrence Banda and First officer Charles Peck noted that the air pressure wasn't stabilizing as it should and that the aircraft was experiencing a very gradual loss of pressure," the airline said.

The flight crew reduced speed, lowered altitude and manually released oxygen masks as a precaution while the plane returned to Johannesburg.

This is the second time an incident of a similar nature has occurred on one of the airline's flights in a few days.

"A similar incident occurred on Friday morning where flight FA202, also from Johannesburg to Cape Town, returned to Johannesburg, with a gradual loss of cabin pressure," the airline said.

However, FlySafair said that preliminary investigations indicate that the two issues were not related despite them taking place on the same plane.

Passengers were given meal vouchers and a refund for their bookings. Most elected to fly later that evening on another flight.

However some passengers took to social media to express their frustrations, with some saying that the oxygen masks were not working properly and that there was smoke in the cabin.

Kirby Gordon, FlySafair's VP of Sales and Distribution, told Travel that at this stage all systems appear to have been working "perfectly fine".

"I think the thing to keep in mind is that people are in a distressed situation and often don't always remember back to the messages shared at the beginning of the flight," Gordon said.

"For example, some people can be under the impression that the masks did not work because the bags didn't inflate - but that's a normal element of their operation - the bags don't always inflate, [and] on post inspection the systems have all been found to have worked perfectly," he said.

"Similarly there have been concerns raised because of smoke - again this is a normal aspect of the functioning of this system as oxygen generators do let off a degree of heat when they kick into action and there can be some steam etc that rises off the devices, especially seeing that they are seldom activated."

While investigations are ongoing, no system faults have been found. Crew actions were also said to be "by the book".

"Our focus for now has been on our passengers, ensuring that they are looked after and that they get to where they need to be. We've also issued full refunds on all bookings," Gordon told

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