A WestJet 737 headed
from Calgary to Winnipeg last week was forced to turn back because
of a faulty air conditioning unit, which caused a slow
depressurization in the aircraft cabin, according to the airline.
The aircraft was able to return to Calgary without incident, albeit
at a much-increased rate of descent.
WestJet executives were angry at Canadian media reports the
aircraft "nose dived" toward the airport after the pressurization
problem was discovered. Some media outlets reported the aircraft
lost more than 16,000 feet of altitude in only one minute.
Tim Morgan, the airlines VP for operations, said the descent
took three or four times as long as had been reported and was a
"standard maneuver" in the event of a pressurization emergency.
"It's certainly something you would not normally experience, but
you're not hanging from your seat-belt heading towards the ground,"
he said. "It was by no means dangerous."
Morgan says the air conditioning unit was repaired after
Monday's incident and the aircraft is now back in service.