Early in the morning of Monday June 27, a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER (registration 9V-SWB, 9 years old) operating flight SQ368 from Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN) to Milan-Malpensa International Airport (MXP) suffered an engine fire after an emergency landing back at Singapore that was warranted by an engine oil warning that the crew received shortly after takeoff.

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Extent of damage to the right wing – Photo from Channel New Asia

The aircraft departed from Changi Airport at 2:05am local time and was climbing out when the cockpit crew received an engine oil warning message. As a result, they decided to divert back to Singapore as the airplane was deemed unfit to fly to Milan. The aircraft made an emergency landing at Singapore at around 6:50am, during which sparks were observed and the starboard (number 2) engine caught fire. The aircraft came to a stop on the runway and the fire continued to burn through the engine and the wing as passengers remained in the aircraft. The airport’s fire crew arrived at the aircraft 2-3 minutes later and put out the fire within a couple of minutes. Passengers then deplaned from the undamaged port side of the aircraft via mobile stairs. None of the 222 passengers and 19 crew were hurt in the ordeal. Singapore Airlines has offered alternative flights to Milan and accommodation in Singapore for all affected passengers.

Passengers disembarking via mobile stairs - Photo from Channel News Asia

Passengers disembarking via mobile stairs – Photo from Channel News Asia

 

Though an engine fire on a sophisticated aircraft like the Boeing 777 is already a significant event, what makes this incident even more worthy of attention is the fact that it comes less than a year after the British Airways 777 engine fire at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport in September 2015 that resulted in 14 injuries. The aircraft involved in that incident was a Boeing 777-200ER (registration G-VIIO, 17 years old) with 157 passengers and 13 crew operating flight BA2276 from Las Vegas McCarran (LAS) to London Gatwick (LGW). What happened was that the aircraft suffered an engine fire during the takeoff roll at McCarran International, causing the crew to abort the takeoff and call for an emergency evacuation.

Both of these aircraft were Boeing 777’s, and both also happened to be equipped  with General Electric GE90 engines, though the Singapore Airlines plane was a 777-300ER with GE90-115B’s and the British Airways plane was a 777-200ER with GE90-85B’s. The similarity of engine and aircraft types have caused people to speculate whether or not there’s an issue with the GE90 engines that’s causing the repeated incidents.

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/sia-flight-catches-fire/2907544.html

Airliners.net discussion: http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1336405

British Airways fire: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_2276