Cathay Pacific Mystified with Blocked Toilets
Three incoming Cathay Pacific flights to Hong Kong from different cities suffered from mysterious toilet blockages with one of them resorting to an unscheduled landing as all of its ten lavatories were not working.
The November 17 flight from Riyadh to Hong Kong with 278 passengers made an emergency landing in Mumbai after flight attendants discovered that all of the toilets couldn’t be used. The eight-hour flight was extended with 18 more hours for repairs.
Similar incidents occurred in a November 9 flight from Rome to Hong Kong and from a November 19 flight from Dubai to Hong Kong. Airline types in the incidents were Airbus A330 and A340.
The exact cause is still being investigated by Cathay Pacific and Airbus. There are no similar cases with Airbus planes with other airlines. Meanwhile Cathay Pacific issued new cleaning procedures about six months ago that includes fitting of pipes and deep cleaning the toilets.
Aircraft toilets use high-speed pipes that carry waste of up to 110 kilometers (68 miles) an hour into awhich is emptied between flights. Two vacuum systems operate separately on each side of the plane, meaning that a blockage usually affects all toilets on one side of the aircraft.
Cathay Pacific is one of the only six airlines to achieve the top-level 5-star airline rating from Skytrax. It has internal guidelines that the ratio of passengers to toilets should be 80:1.