Cayman Airways does not yet know the cause of a mechanical issue that forced the emergency landing of a B737-800 aircraft bound for Tampa, Florida, earlier this month.

Flight KX200 had been in the air only briefly on Sept. 14 when a right-hand engine began vibrating and had to be shut down. The aircraft was then redirected back to Owen Roberts International Airport, where workers awaited its landing in “full emergency” mode.

Cayman Airways CEO Fabian Whorms said the airline is working with the engine’s manufacturer to determine the cause of the malfunction.

“Cayman Airways is unable at this time to determine the cause of the mechanical issue without the engine being disassembled at an approved overseas repair facility. I can confirm, however, that there is no externally visible damage to (the) engine, and the mechanical issue is therefore related to one of the engine’s internal components,” Mr. Whorms said.

“I can also confirm that there have been no related mechanical issues or indications with this engine to date. The aircraft and its engines have also been correctly and meticulously maintained in accordance with the manufacturers specifications and this internal engine issue (is) not attributable to any form of deficiency with the maintenance of the aircraft and/or engines.”

The aircraft was manufactured in 2003 and previously operated by Norwegian Air Shuttle. Cayman Airways acquired the plane in November through a two-year leasing agreement as a placeholder for two new B737-8Max airplanes, expected to be delivered in November 2018.

The B737-800 was taken out of service the day of the malfunction. Cayman Airways did not specify how long the plane would be out of service.

Mr. Whorms said the airline has adhered to a strict maintenance program for its planes.

“Our aircraft are maintained in accordance with the manufacturers’ strict specifications, and also in compliance (with) the stringent regulatory requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands,” he said.

He added that the airline also follows standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization and International Air Transport Association.

“Please be reminded that Cayman Airways has a safety record over its 49 years of operation which is second to none in the industry. This in itself is an assurance of the airline’s extremely high safety, operating and maintenance standards,” Mr. Whorms said.  None of the 128 passengers on board the flight was injured.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder if in the maintenance , if they use a high pressure vacuum is done from the front of the engine to make sure that intakes are cleared. of any bildup in the intakes of the engines every so often . Especially if that plane was recently used in a uncleaned runway, like going to hurricane devastated place
    I would think that if there’s obstruction in the intakes of the engine that would cause the engine to malfunction and would not be visible from the outside to see .

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  2. If the engine has to be disassembled at an overseas facility, presumably it will need to be removed from the plane and shipped to the U.S. As this process will take some time, will CAL have to lease another aircraft on a temporary basis?. It would have been helpful if Mr Whorms could have addressed these questions.

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  3. One thing I learned when I was flying 35 years ago – Engine vibrations = engine damage. CAL needs to stop messing around, bring in a replacement engine and send the damaged unit back to the USA for repair. After all this is a leased airplane so unless they broke it CAL shouldn’t even be responsible for the repair bill – it’s normally the leasing company’s responsibilty to keep the thing flying.

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