Montreal, Qc, Canada, March 7, 2005
Air Transat Flight TS 961 that left Varadero, Cuba, for Québec City, had to return to Varadero approximately 30 minutes after take-off, due to a mechanical failure. There were 261 passengers and 9 crewmembers on board the Airbus A310 aircraft, which landed normally in Varadero at 4:18 p.m. local time on Sunday. Deplaning occurred normally through the loading bridge.
Passengers were sent to hotels in Varadero. Passengers will arrive in Québec City in the early morning hours of Monday.
Preliminary observations indicate that a portion of the rudder detached from the aircraft, as the flight was progressing under normal conditions at its cruising altitude.
Air Transat operates 10 Airbus A310s. The Company immediately carried out a thorough visual examination of all its Airbus A310s. The inspection was completed in the following hours and no anomaly was detected. The inspection caused delays on certain flights but no Air Transat flights have been cancelled. The Company expects to be back to a normal schedule on Monday.
Following the incident, Air Transat immediately advised Airbus, Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. Based on available information, an investigation will be conducted by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, with support and participation of Cuban authorities, Air Transat and Airbus.
The aircraft involved in Flight TS 961, an Airbus A310, was put into service in 1991. It had an A-Check inspection on March 1, 2005 and its next major C-Check inspection is scheduled for 2006.
Flight TS 961 left Varadero at 2:48 a.m. on Sunday, March 6.The problem occurred sometime about 3:15 a.m. and the aircraft landed normally at 4:18 a.m. in Varadero.
About Air Transat
Air Transat offers departures from Canada to some 90 destinations in 25 countries. With a fleet of 14 aircraft, the airline is Canada's leading vacation charter carrier. Air Transat is a member of Transat A.T. Inc., an integrated company specializing in the organization, marketing, and distribution of holiday travel.