Qantas jet loses air pressure, forced to turn back

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SYDNEY – A Qantas jet flying from New Zealand to Australia was forced to turn around when the cabin started to lose air pressure, the airline said in a statement.

The Australian carrier has an excellent safety record but has come under scrutiny over the past year after its aircraft experienced a series of technical problems in flight.

Qantas said Saturday’s incident involved a Boeing 737-400 ascending out of Auckland en route to Brisbane. At 25,000 feet it developed a “subtle pressurisation problem,” the airline said.

The aircraft landed and all 91 passengers disembarked safely. The plane is being examined by engineers.

“The cabin was depressurizing at a controlled rate but certainly not rapidly or noticeably to passengers. There was never any imminent threat to passengers, the crew or the aircraft,” the airline said in the statement.