PAL A340 experiences repeated flight control issues, diverts twice to Vancouver

A Philippine Airlines Airbus A340-300 (registration RP-C3441) experienced two incidents involving flight control malfunctions within a five-day period, resulting in emergency landings at Vancouver International Airport.

A Philippine Airlines Airbus A340-313 on finals at Los Angeles International Airport. (Photo by Brian Gershey via

On December 31, 2016, flight PR-117 bound for Manila reported a flight control issue shortly after takeoff.

The aircraft held altitude at 7,000 feet for 30 minutes before returning to Vancouver and landing safely 50 minutes after departure.

According to the Canadian Transportation Safety Board, ECAM messages indicated locked flaps and overheated brakes.

Maintenance personnel conducted an overweight landing inspection, reset the flaps, and cleared the aircraft for service.

The flight eventually reached Manila with a five-hour delay.

Just five days prior, the same aircraft encountered a similar flap control issue on December 26.

Flight PR-117 was forced to return to Vancouver 45 minutes after departure and held at 7,000 feet to burn off fuel.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported during either incident.

Vancouver Airport's Operations Shift Manager Brant Arnold-Smith confirmed that,

As a precaution, YVR did have emergency equipment standing by for the aircraft’s arrival, and once the aircraft did land after dumping fuel to reach appropriate landing weight, aircraft did land safely.