The pilots of an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Dammam in Saudi Arabia declared Mayday and made an emergency landing in Doha after receiving an alert that the left-hand engine had stalled, according to a report first obtained by the Aviation Herald.
The eight-year-old Airbus A321-200 aircraft remained on the ground in Qatar for five days following the emergency incident on January 29 before being ferried back to Abu Dhabi, where it was returned to commercial service the following day.
According to sources cited by the Aviation Herald, the pilots of Etihad Airways flight EY325 received “several abnormal indications” shortly after takeoff before being alerted to the engine stall warning.
The pilots immediately diverted towards Doha and initially made a ‘PAN PAN ‘ call before upgrading the alert call to a ‘May day’ around eight minutes before landing.
In aviation radio communications, ‘PAN PAN’ is used to alert authorities to an urgent but not immediately life-threatening situation – such as, like in this case, an aircraft system malfunction that will require a diversion and immediate attention.
A Mayday call, however, signifies that the situation is life-threatening and can be used for a wide range of inflight issues, including an engine failure.
The use of the word Mayday as a distress call dates back to the early days of commercial aviation in the 1920s and is derived from the French word ‘m’aider’ which translates to ‘help me’.
Despite its French origins, the word was actually developed by an English radio officer at Croydon Airport called Frederick Stanley Mockford. At the time, the majority of flights were to and from France, so Frederick developed a word that could be used by airmen from both England and France.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.