There is a discussion ongoing on AvHerald.com, whether OO-ABB had to divert to the nearest airport (probably Barcelona or Marseille), to continue to end destination (thus 4 hours to go) or to return to Paris CDG (thus 2 hours to go).Incident: Air Belgium A343 enroute on Jun 12th 2018, hydraulic leak
"An Air Belgium Airbus A340-300 on behalf of Air France, registration OO-ABB performing flight AF-926 from Paris Charles de Gaulle (France) to Libreville (Gabon), was enroute at FL350 about two hours into the flight when the crew detected a leak at the blue hydraulic system. The crew continued the flight to Libreville, requested emergency services on standby for the landing and performed a safe landing on Libreville's runway 16 about 6.5 hours after departure.
Gabon's National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) opened an investigation into the occurrence. The occurrence aircraft remained on the ground in Libreville for about 19 hours, then departed for the return flight. On Jun 21st 2018 Gabon's Bureau des Incidents et Accidents d Aviation (BEIAA) reported a significant hydraulic leak occurred enroute. The occurrence was rated a serious incident and is being investigated by the BEIAA.
Because it's a Belgian airline and because this is a forum after all, maybe some people can confirm, deny, adjust or comment on one of these posts on AvHerald?
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- - - - - -By Tom on Tuesday, Jun 19th 2018 20:25Z:
I don't blame anyone, but I'm a bit surprised. In aviation, you generally have a 'what if'-mindset. Before T/O you think about what if an engine fails, what would you do? Same in cruise. Because if you only start thinking when that specific thing happens it might be too late. Now in this case: You're 2 hours south of France, probably over the coast of Algeria. You have a lot of good options behind, with regard to operational and infrastructural needs. Now you lose one of your three hydraulic systems. Everything's fine. But now: What if the next system fails? With only one hydraulic system you're capable of flying, but severly degraded. It's also one of the conditions that puts you in a 'must' case with regard to emergency status.
- - - - - -By Tom on Tuesday, Jun 19th 2018 20:28Z
Every airline has its own standards. In my company, a leading European carrier, these guys would have definitely met the fleet chief. And not for him to say 'Thank you'.
- - - - - -By Jason H on Wednesday, Jun 20th 2018 02:09Z
This is not a problem. There was no risk of a cascading failure. The major problem from a company POV was whether the technicians were available at arrival to fix the problem. No reason to dump $400k worth of fuel all over Europe, divert and inconvenience the customers to tighten a hose pipe. Let alone worry about the customs issues with 250 pax sitting in transit for 19 hours.
- - - - - -By Sam Coat on Wednesday, Jun 20th 2018 02:16Z
I understand your point, but it is only one of any number of perfectly acceptable decisions. Moreso given our limited knowledge. Loss of one of the three systems while indeed a nuisance doesn’t constitute a land at nearest suitable airport for the A340 I believe. A leak less so. Air Belgium is also a new carrier may place a lot of importance on completing a flight.
- - - - - -By Cpt Crunch on Wednesday, Jun 20th 2018 09:36Z
I wonder why they continued. It´s perfectly safe to continue on 2 HYD systems, don´t get me wrong, but the aircraft is grounded after landing with one HYD system less. For the way back to your homebase ok, but here: Why didn´t they turn around?