Miscommunication caused Malaysia Airlines plane to hit aerobridge

atsbMELBOURNE: A Malaysia Airlines’ A330 collided with an aerobridge at Melbourne Airport on March 31 because the captain released the park brake without checking if wheel chocks were in place.

A report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found miscommunication between the flight and ground crews led to the crash, which damaged the A330’s door.

News.com.au reported that prior to the collision the captain had engaged the park brake while carrying out an external inspection of the plane before a scheduled flight to Kuala Lumpur.

The park brake indicator light on the nose landing gear led the aircraft maintenance engineer to assume the park brake would remain on, and the main landing gear chocks were removed.

But when the captain returned to the flight deck he released the park brake out of sequence and the A330 rolled three-metres into the aerobridge, said the report.

No-one was hurt in the incident.

The ATSB report found “the ground and flight crew procedures were not well harmonised, leading to reduced cohesion between the crews”.

“These problems reduced the likelihood that the respective procedures would be followed correctly,” said the report.

“In addition, the flight crew and engineers did not explicitly convey their actions and intentions to the others, resulting in a number of missed opportunities to discover the resulting procedural errors.”

In response to the incident, Malaysia Airlines told the ATSB it was planning to amend its procedures so that flight crews advised ground crews whenever the park brake was about to be released, said the report.

“As an interim measure, Malaysia Airlines sent A330 flight crews a reminder to communicate with ground crews before releasing the park brake to verify that chocks are in place,” the ATSB report said.

Despite the report’s findings, the ATSB said it should not be read as apportioning blame or liability to any particular organisation or individual.

The report noted that Malaysia Airlines had gone through troubling times, to the extent of being ‘restarted’ with a new name under an expatriate, former chief executive, Christoph Mueller.

It noted, too, that things were beginning to look better for the airline, with the latest financial update released by Malaysia Airlines last week indicating that the carrier planned to be “sustainably profitable” by 2018.

Now overseen by CEO Peter Bellew, it said, the relaunch had seen new Business Class suites rolled out and new menus in all cabins.