- Air France Airbus A321 evacuated at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport due to heavy fuel leak from both wings. No injuries reported.
- Passengers instructed to leave hand luggage and personal belongings behind during swift evacuation. Emergency personnel on site.
- Incident involved a 21-year-old Airbus A321-200 registered F-GTAK, not the first safety emergency for this aircraft. Delayed five hours.
An Air France Airbus A321 was evacuated on the ground at Paris-Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) after a fuel incident on October 12. Upon the incident’s discovery, the captain shut the aircraft off and safely evacuated the crew and passengers off of the aircraft. The plane was promptly met by emergency personnel. No injuries have been reported in association with this incident.
The flight in question was Air France flight AF1390. The flight, operated on a 21-year-old Airbus A321-200 registered F-GTAK, was scheduled to depart Paris-Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) at 11:20 (local time). It was intended to arrive at Istanbul International Airport (IST) at 15:50 (local time). Just before pushback from the gate, the captain noticed a heavy fuel leak from both wings, prompting an evacuation of the aircraft.
Passengers were instructed to rapidly leave the aircraft via the boarding bridge back into the terminal. As a result of the evacuation, passengers were instructed to leave their hand luggage and personal belongings behind on the aircraft and swiftly departed. Passenger Tom Roek was able to film the incident and the swift evacuation of all passengers and crew off the plane.
Once emergency services rushed to the aircraft, it was clear to everyone that the aircraft could not be operated on the Paris- Istanbul service. Therefore, Air France deployed another plane for the scheduled service – another Airbus A321-200 bearing the registration F-GTAU. The flight departed Paris CDG at 16:46 (local time) and touched down in Istanbul at 20:55 (local time), accumulating a delay of five hours and five minutes.
What do we know about the involved aircraft?
The almost 22-year-old Airbus A321-212 registered F-GTAK was the aircraft that suffered the incident. The plane has a total capacity of 212 passengers in an all-economy class cabin in a 3-3 configuration and is powered by two CFM International CFM56-5B1 engines. The Airbus A321 F-GTAK operated its first flight on December 19, 2001.
The aircraft was initially delivered to Air France on January 18, 2002, and operated for the carrier until March 18, 2018, when it was transferred to Air France’s low-cost subsidiary Joon, where it flew for the low-cost subsidiary until June 26, 2019, when it returned to operations with Air France. Although Air France and its low-cost subsidiary Joon have been the only operators of this aircraft, the French flag carrier does not own the jet but operates it on lease from AerCap.
Thursday’s fuel leak was not the first time the jet had experienced a safety emergency. On June 4, 2019, the aircraft registered as F-GTAK, then operating as Joon on behalf of Air France, was performing a flight between Porto, Portugal and Paris, France. As the aircraft climbed out of Porto, the crew noticed smoke on board, stopped the climb at 29,000 feet, and safely returned to Porto 55 minutes after departure. Upon landing, they were met by emergency personnel.
All passengers were safely deplaned, and no injuries were reported. Following the incident, the maintenance crew thoroughly inspected the aircraft and reported that a recirculation fan had failed, causing the smoke. A second A321 was dispatched to Porto, which carried the passenger to Paris eight and a half hours late.
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