Christmas Day flight AF08 “returned to (Paris) as a precautionary measure because of a minor incident… given the Winter weather conditions”, an Air France spokesperson explained.
If the incident had taken place at another time of the year, the spokesperson continued, “the flight could have carried on” to its destination as the A330 has “multiple systems allowing the crew to confront icy weather conditions”.
187 passengers and 12 crew were on board the flight which took off at 19h04 local time before returning to Charles de Gaulle just before 10pm.
The flight took off again after repairs and a fuel re-fill at 23h52.
The freezing of Pitot speed sensors is believed to be the main technical reason for the crash of an Air France Airbus off the coast of Brazil in May 2009.