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Lithuanian plane makes mayday return to Helsinki airport after engine failure

The Transaviabaltika plane flying from Helsinki to Savonlinna had to land at Helsinki shortly after take-off on Wednesday evening, with Finavia clarifying it was not an emergency landing.

Image: Transaviabaltika

A potentially dangerous incident took place at Helsinki Airport on Wednesday night when a two-engine propeller turbine aircraft, operated by Lithuanian airline Transaviabaltika, was forced to return to the airport with just one operational engine after taking off for Savonlinna.

Pilot Erwin Jonker told Helsingin Sanomat that shortly after take-off, the right-side engine malfunctioned and was shut down to prevent further damage.

The pilots issued a mayday call to air traffic control and asked for permission to return to Helsinki Airport.

There were two passengers on the plane. The malfunction did cause a serious situation, Jonker said, but no one was in danger.

"The plane was surprisingly easy to fly, even with one engine. It was more difficult in the simulator," he told HS.

A subsequent inspection revealed that the transmission for the faulty engine had broken. The company's trustee, Jyri Koponen, told Yle that the warranty would cover the part, and the transmission can be repaired quickly.

The company's spare aircraft will serve the route between Helsinki and Savonlinna while the other plane is out of commission. Transaviabaltica does not operate other routes in Finland. In Estonia, the company operates air traffic between Tallinn and Kärdla.

According to Finavia, this was not an emergency landing, but Jari Pöntinen, the director responsible for aviation at the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom), told Helsingin Sanomat that it should be classified as a dangerous situation. Yle also reached Pöntinen, but he said he wanted to wait for the airline's report on the situation before commenting further.

Based on current information, Finland's Safety Investigation Authority is unlikely to investigate the incident.