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Cathay Pacific holds safety briefing

08 Dec 2004

Cathay Pacific Airways today held a briefing, chaired by Engineering Director Derek Cridland, to explain action being taken by the airline to continue to ensure maximum passenger safety.

Mr Cridland said: “Cathay Pacific Airways is proud of its reputation for maintaining the highest engineering standards in the industry. Safety is our top priority, and we have every confidence in the quality of our maintenance standards and procedures.

“We operate one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the air. Our engineering organisation and maintenance providers, HAECO and TAECO, have a worldwide reputation for excellence. Our pilots and crew are trained to the highest professional standards in order to handle any eventuality.

“We appreciate that the travelling public may have concerns regarding recent incidents and want provide as much information as possible in order to explain what we know has happened and actions that have been taken,” he said.
The cause of each incident is now clear.

CX751, Bangkok to Mumbai, 1 December 2004
Part of a duct in one engine fragmented, causing a metal sleeve around the exhaust to shear off and fall to the ground. We now know that heat from the engine caused this partial delamination of the duct. We have checked our B777-300 aircraft and are working with technical experts from the aircraft’s manufacturer, Boeing, to make necessary modifications. None of the few suspected B777-300 aircraft will operate until we are entirely sure that it is safe.

CX250 London to Hong Kong, 18 November 2004
The crew detected an engine vibration and shut the engine down. Our investigation found that a foreign object drawn into the engine caused the failure of a compressor blade. The engine was replaced.

CX883 Los Angeles to Hong Kong, 9 November 2004
One engine experienced what is called a “surge”. The pilots followed standard operating procedures, shut the engine down and returned to Los Angeles. The surge was caused by the failure of a comparatively new turbine blade, which has been returned to its manufacturer, Rolls-Royce, for investigation. This incident was new to the industry and we have introduced a new procedure to more closely monitor this area of the engine.

CX251 Hong Kong to London, 5 September 2004
The pilots detected an engine problem, shut the engine down and returned to Hong Kong. It was found that the prescribed positioning of a particular clip was causing stress and possible cracking on an engine fuel line. We immediately notified Rolls-Royce, the engine’s manufacturer, to highlight this fault. Within a week, we had checked and, where necessary, modified the positioning of the clip and replaced the fuel lines on all 96 of those engines in operation on our aircraft.

All commercial aircraft are designed to operate without the use of an engine, and an engine surge does not place the aircraft or anyone on board in any danger. All jet engines are certified so that, in the event of any failure, no part can escape to damage the aircraft.

The entire aviation industry is governed by a rigorous system of oversight and crosschecks. At Cathay Pacific, everything we do is monitored closely by the regulatory authorities, including the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department, the European Aviation Safety Agency and US Federal Aviation Administration.

“We believe there is no reason for any member of the travelling public to doubt that our maintenance and safety standards are anything but the best in the world,” Mr Cridland said. “We guarantee that every possible step is always taken to ensure the absolute safety of all our passengers and crew. On that there never has, or ever will be, any compromise.”