The Civil Aviation Administration of China has disclosed that the right cockpit windshield that separated from a Sichuan Airlines Airbus A319 was an original part that had not been replaced since the aircraft entered into service in July 2011.
In a statement, the regulator says preliminary information shows that, up until the incident on 14 May, the right-hand windshield had no record of malfunction, nor had it been replaced or undergone any maintenance.
It adds that the aircraft had climbed normally to a cruising altitude of 9,800m (32,000ft) and was in the Chengdu air traffic control zone when the right cockpit windshield suddenly cracked and detached. This resulted in a loss of cabin pressure, damaging some equipment in the cockpit and injuring the co-pilot and a flight attendant.
The jet eventually diverted to Chengdu Shuangliu International airport. CAAC says investigations are ongoing.
The aircraft, MSN4660 and registered B-6419, was built in 2011 and delivered to Sichuan Airlines July that year. It accumulated 19,942 flight hours to date, says Airbus.
FlightGlobal understands that the aircraft was assembled at the Tianjin plant in China.
Airbus declined to comment on the nature of the windshield failure or its origins, citing the ongoing investigation, but adds that it will provide all necessary support to the CAAC and French investigation authority BEA. Sichuan Airlines has so far only said that the jet suffered a “mechanical failure”.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the International Aero Engines V2500-powered aircraft is owned by Sichuan Airlines.