Frontier’s engine cover breaks loose during take-off
Passengers on a Frontier Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Florida early on November 30, 2018, had quite a scare when they saw what had happened to one of their aircraft’s engines. The plane was forced to return to its departure airport just minutes after take-off due to an in-flight emergency, one resembling the chilling Southwest Flight 1380.
Frontier’s Flight 260 took off from the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS), Nevada, at 7:12 am local time. Bound for Tampa Bay, Florida, the Airbus A320 had to be diverted after part of the right engine’s cover blew off during take-off. This section of the engine, called a cowling, covers the main engine components.
According to Frontier, despite suffering critical failure of its covering, the engine continued to operate normally. The A320 circled around the McCarran airport, climbing up to 5,000 feet (1,524 meters), flight tracking website Flightradar24 reveals.
Spokesperson for the airport told ABC News that the plane had landed safely at about 7:26 a.m., only 15 minutes after takeoff, and taxied to the gate on its own. None of the passengers and crew onboard were harmed.
WHOA! My aunt snapped this pic of a shredded engine on Frontier flight 260 from Vegas to Tampa. The plane was able to turn around and land. She says all passengers got a free breakfast voucher. pic.twitter.com/vc4t4uxMmh— Dan Ponce (@DanPonceTV) November 30, 2018
“Safety is our top priority at Frontier Airlines and we would like to acknowledge the professionalism of our pilots and flight attendants. We are working to get our passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible,” the airline’s statement read, Aviation24.be reports.
And boy did the carrier try to make up for the incident: by giving passengers a refund for the flight and a $500 voucher for future travel on Frontier. The carrier also rebooked the shaken passengers on other airlines and covered the full cost of their travel. The company also provided passengers with breakfast vouchers, local Las Vegas Review-Journal revealed, citing Frontier spokesperson Allison Redmon.
The situation may remind many of the Southwest flight 1380 earlier this year: a Boeing 737 -700 experienced engine failure mid-air after departing from New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) en route to Dallas Love field (DAL) on April 17, 2018.
The emergency situation was caused by a loss of engine fan blade inlet, which shattered the engine. Debris struck the plane’s wing, fuselage, and broke a cabin window, causing depressurization. One passenger was partially sucked out of the cabin and received fatal injuries, making it the first fatal accident involving a U.S. based carrier since 2009.
As for Frontier’s aircraft in question, an A320-200 (registration N227FR), was delivered to the Denver, Colorado-based carrier in July 2014 and is only 4.4 years of age, Planespotters data indicates.
The U.S. ultra-low-cost carrier has an all-Airbus fleet consisting of both old and new generation aircraft: 12 A319ceo; 22 A320ceo; 19 A321ceo: and 30 A320neo, making it a total of 83 planes currently in operation.
Interestingly, Airbus orders and deliveries book also shows that as of October 31, 2018, Frontier had nine A318s ordered and delivered; a total of 180 A320neos ordered with only 28 jets delivered; and an order for 34 A321neos.
The main photo credits: formulanone, CC BY-SA 2.0