HK Express UO600 Emergency Return after Loss of Cabin Pressure

A flight operated by Hong Kong Express Airways Limited made an emergency return to Hong Kong this morning, 3rd jan, 2023.

HK Express UO600 was diverted back to Hong Kong International Aiport this morning after a suspected loss of cabin pressure. The flight scheduled to fly from Hong Kong to Fukuoka operated with the Airbus A321-231(registration: B-LEE) departed Hong Kong International Airport at 0744 a.m and made an emergency return back to Hong Kong International Airport at 0942 a.m local time.

The Airbus A321 departed HKIA and climbed to an altitude of 37,000 feet for cruising. At about 0830 a.m., the aircraft commenced an emergency descent and reached the altitude of 10,000ft in approximately 6 minutes, giving an average vertical speed of 4400 feet per minute.

Screenshot 20230103 103851 Flightradar24 - Travel Radar - Aviation News
Emergency Descent was carried out shortly after aircraft reached its cruising altitude of 37,000ft. |©flightradar24

Upon reaching 10,000ft, the aircraft made a left turn towards Hong Kong International Airport. The aircraft landed on runway 07L without further reported incidents at around 0942 am local time.

Local news source suggested the pilots requested emergency services to be on standby, fire brigade and ambulance service was mobilised at Hong Kong Ineternational Airport.

Emergency Return due Loss of Cabin Pressure.

From data charts on flightradar24, we could see that the emergency descent procedure was carried out with a steep descent rate of 4400ft per minute and a high ground speed of 460kt. This procedure should only be performed when the aircraft warning system suggests the cabin pressure is rising and is not controllable. The rapid and uncontrolled rise in cabin pressure could potentially reduce the level of oxygen in the cabin in mere minutes, making this one of the most dangerous situations if not handled properly. The sudden loss of oxygen means the consciousness of both crew and passenger could be taken as quickly as 30 seconds at an altitude of 37,000ft.

Hong Kong Express Airways.

Hong Kong Express Airways, callsign “Hong Kong Shuttle”, is the city’s only Low Cost Carrier which utilises an all Airbus A321 fleet. The airline was aquired by flag carrier Cathay Pacific back in 2019 but remains to be operated as a separate company from the full service operations. HK Express connects Hong Kong to major cities of nearby countries, with a focus on secondary airports in Japan.

20221006 065627 - Travel Radar - Aviation News
HK Express was aquired by flag carrier Cathay Pacific back in 2019. ©Travel Radar

For more updated news about aviation in Asia, click here. For this story, more as we recieve it.

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Leo Cheung
Leo Cheung
Aviation Reporter - Born and raised in Hong Kong, Leo has decided to pursue a career in aviation under the influence of the old Kai Tak Airport back in the days. With a degree in aviation, he has joint Travel Radar as an aviation reporter to diversify his views and apply professional knowledge to anyone who is interested in commercial aviation. He regularly contributes articles with 'inside the cockpit' knowledge.


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