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GE strives to identify Air France engine fault

General Electric is examining a GE90-94B turbofan to identify the fault that forced an Air France Boeing 777-200ER crew to carry out an in-flight engine shutdown and divert to Irkutsk, Siberia on a flight from Seoul, South Korea to Paris. Air France says the 246 passengers were accommodated in three Irkutsk hotels on 17 December, then flown in a chartered Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-86 to Moscow Sheremetyevo the next day.

A replacement GE90 was flown out on a chartered Volga Dnepr Antonov An-124 on 20 December with an Air France engineering crew to perform the engine change. The An-124 also collected the unserviceable GE90 and flew it via Paris to GE’s Engines Services site in the UK for examination.

“We just don’t have enough information yet to speculate on what happened,” says GE. The company says this is the first incident of its type to affect the -94B, for which the in-flight shutdown rate is 0.003 per 1,000 engine flight-hours compared with the 180min extended twin-engine operations requirement of 0.020. Maintenance industry sources indicate early investigations are focused on a possible low-pressure compressor system failure.

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