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Emergency Services Meet United Airlines Boeing 777 In Hong Kong Amid Smoke Indication

by Staff


  • A United Airlines flight was met by emergency services in HKG due to smoke indication during the landing process. The aircraft was later cleared and taxied to the gate.
  • The plane involved is a 29-year-old Boeing 777-200 registered as N794UA. It has nearly 4,000 annual hours and over 525 annual cycles on average.
  • After the incident, the 777 was grounded for maintenance for about 67 hours.

On Thursday, February 1, a United Airlines aircraft was met by emergency services upon landing in Hong Kong. Per The Aviation Herald, the aircraft’s flight crew reported that a smoke indication went on during the landing process. The emergency response teams eventually cleared the aircraft, which later taxied to the airport’s apron.

Smoke indication

The United Airlines aircraft involved in the incident was a Boeing 777-200. It is registered as N794UA and was performing flight UA-869 from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), which takes around 15 hours. Typically, the flight departs San Francisco at approximately 11:35 local time and lands in Hong Kong at 19:20 local time.

Photo: United Airlines

On February 1, N794UA departed about an hour later than scheduled and took off at approximately 12:37 local time. However, as the aircraft began to descend for landing at Hong Kong International Airport, the flight crew noticed a smoke indication light turned on. The flight crew reported this to the tower, which promptly alerted the local emergency response teams at the airport.

The aircraft continued its descent and performed a safe landing on runway 07L. The emergency services teams met the aircraft upon landing and performed a check on several of its systems before clearing it to taxi to its gate. A United Airlines spokesperson stated,

“United Flight 869 from San Francisco to Hong Kong landed safely without incident and was met by the local fire department out of an abundance of caution due to an odor onboard. Passengers deplaned at the gate normally.

Continued aircraft issues

N794UA is just over 29 years old, per ch-aviation and was originally delivered to United Airlines in November 1997. Ch-aviation also states that the aircraft has nearly 4,000 annual hours on average and over 525 annual cycles on average.

The aircraft seats 276 total passengers in four different classes. United Airlines operates its 777s in several different layouts; this specific aircraft seats 50 travelers in its United Polaris Business class, 24 passengers in Premium Plus, 46 passengers in Economy Plus, and the remaining 156 passengers in the standard economy class.

United Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft landing in Houston.

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Per The Aviation Herald, the aircraft remained on the ground undergoing maintenance for about 67 hours after the incident occurred. It was then scheduled to perform UA-3944, which flies from Hong Kong International Airport to San Francisco International Airport. The flight was scheduled to depart at 14:30 local time and arrive in California at 10:55 local time.

N749UA began to operate this flight on time on Friday, February 2. However, as it was accelerating, the aircraft’s left-hand engine, a Pratt & Whitney PW4090, began emitting excessive exhaust. The flight crew then rejected its takeoff just as the aircraft reached 90 knots. The plane experienced a left-hand engine failure which caused the smoke emission.

A United Airlines Boeing 777 (N791UA) landing in Frankfurt, Germany

 Photo: CL-Medien | Shutterstock

Since the rejected takeoff incident, N749UA has been grounded for maintenance. The aircraft was then scheduled to operate flight UA-3929 on February 3, which also connects Hong Kong to San Francisco, but did not operate this service due to its maintenance.

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