Troubled Cathay plane had earlier problems: airline

HONG KONG, Dec 1, 2010 (AFP) - A Cathay Pacific plane that made an emergency landing in Kazakhstan on Monday was forced to turn back to London during a flight in September, the airline said Wednesday.

HONG KONG, Dec 1, 2010 (AFP) - A Cathay Pacific plane that made an emergency landing in Kazakhstan on Monday was forced to turn back to London during a flight in September, the airline said Wednesday.

The Boeing 747-400 returned to Heathrow airport an hour into a flight on September 11, when cockpit crew discovered a malfunction in an air pressure valve, a company spokeswoman told AFP.

The emergency landing this week in the Kazakh city of Karaganda, about six hours after the plane's take-off from Amsterdam, was also caused by a faulty air-pressure component, she confirmed.

But the earlier flight from London bound for Hong Kong involved a problem with a different component in a separate section of the aircraft, the spokeswoman added.

"The two incidents were totally unrelated," she said.

"They involved different valves. September's incident was not an emergency landing. No oxygen masks were deployed," she added.

A valve in the tail of the plane which regulates cabin pressure was replaced after the September flight returned to Heathrow and the plane took off again for Hong Kong without incident.

The plane remained in service before it was forced to make an emergency landing in Kazakhstan after the failure of a back-up device designed to prevent the aircraft from becoming over-pressurised.

There were no injuries on either flight, Cathay said.

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