A flight on its way to Vietnam from China was forced to turn back after cracks appeared in the window, just two weeks after another plane made an emergency landing due to a broken cockpit windshield.
Flight JD421 of Capital Airlines was expected to fly from Hangzhou to Nha Trang, but it landed at Hangzhou airport on Tuesday afternoon, one hour after taking off. No injuries or deaths have yet been reported.
“An in-flight announcement said the plane was encountering turbulence. I have been on a lot of flights and I had never witnessed such strong turbulence. Many of the children in the cabin were scared and crying,” a passenger surnamed Zhang told CCTV.
According to Capital Airlines authorities, 221 passengers on the plane would each get monetary compensation of 400 yuan (about 62 US dollars), under Chinese regulations. Another flight going to Nha Trang was arranged for the passengers, said the authorities.
Based in Beijing, Capital Airlines is a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group.
The case is under investigation by the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s (CAAC) East China Regional Administration, in the name of an “unsafe event.” Such events refer to the unsafe situations of civil aircraft, including accidents and cases which could potentially put the flight in danger.
Capital Airlines authorities claimed that the window cracks were “general mechanical failures,” which have been spotted on Airbus and Boeing flights before.
Possible reasons include window defects like scratches during the flight, aviation expert Wang Yanan told CCTV.
The plane was an Airbus A321, which has been in operation for two months. It belongs to the A320 family, together with the A318, A319 and A320.
The Sichuan Airlines plane, which made an emergency landing in Chengdu on May 14 after a cockpit window broke, was an A319.
CAAC Chief Security Officer Tang Weibin said that the investigation of the Sichuan Airlines case would focus on design, manufacturing and techniques. No reports of the investigation have been made public.
“The A320 family has served for more than 40 years. Design faults, if any, should be uncovered at an early stage, not now,” Wang Yanan said. “We have to wait for the investigative report.”