A pair of military jets escorted an Air Astana Embraer 190 as it experienced severe technical difficulties over Portugal and the pilots considered ditching at sea.

The incident occurred Nov. 11. The Air Astana E190, operating a ferry flight from the Lisbon Aviation Technical Center in Portugal to Almaty, Kazakhstan, encountered technical difficulties shortly after departure and the crew requested to land at Beja airport in Portugal.

The aircraft was returning from C-check maintenance by OGMA, an EASA certified MRO. Onboard were three pilots and three engineers, but no passengers.

According to the Portuguese newspaper Publico, the crew considered ditching the aircraft at sea and it was escorted by Portuguese military F-16s.

Air Astana said initial investigations indicated the aircraft had experienced significant roll-axis stability deviations in unfavorable weather conditions. The crew was eventually able to control the aircraft and landed safely in Beja on the third attempt, Air Astana said.

The aircraft remains in Portugal and will not return to the airline’s base in Kazakhstan until the cause of the incident has been established and a fix done.

The E190 was delivered to Air Astana in December 2013.


Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at