German airline Lufthansa said pilots on an Airbus A380 flying from Tokyo to Frankfurt shut down one of the superjumbo's four engines as it neared its destination.
Flight crew detected a change in oil pressure which was probably the result of dirt particles clogging a filter in the hydraulic circulation system, Lufthansa said. The engine was exchanged and the plane resumed service to the Japanese capital.
"It wasn't necessary to shut down the engine, but once in a while pilots do this just to be careful," Lufthansa spokesman Michael Lamberty said today by telephone. "Thankfully it happened just before landing. In another phase of the flight they may have been forced to perform an emergency landing."Rolls-Royce, which supplies engines for Lufthansa A380s, didn't immediately respond to a phone call and an e-mail seeking comment on the incident, which took place on Aug. 6.
An A380 operated by Singapore Airlines last year returned to Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport 2 1/2 hours into an Asian flight following an unspecified engine malfunction. Air France, Qantas and Dubai-based Emirates have also delayed, cancelled or turned around A380 flights because of glitches with the fuel system.
Cologne-based carrier Lufthansa is Europe's second-biggest airline, behind Air France-KLM Group.