Anti-wasp covers caused Malaysia Airlines flight to return to airport, says Aussie report

Reuters pic.

PETALING JAYA: The crew’s omission in making some mandatory pre-departure checks was the reason why Malaysia Airlines flight MH134 had to turn back and perform an emergency landing at the Brisbane Airport on July 18, the Australian authorities have confirmed in a report.

The Straits Times said the crew did not notice that the plane’s pitot probes, which measure air pressure to assess speed, were covered.

This resulted in an air-speed indication failure, according to a preliminary report published by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on Thursday, the daily reported.

The airline had attributed the incident “due to an unexpected technical issue that occurred after take-off”.

The Airbus A330-300 left Brisbane at 11.18pm and was due to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 5.50am but had to turn back and land about an hour after departure.

No one was injured but the main runway had to be closed for 90 minutes.

The pitot probes need to be covered at the airport due to wasps building nests in the openings and blocking them. The red covers must be removed before flight.

It was revealed in security video recordings that these covers were not used in Malaysia Airlines’ three previous turnarounds.

ATSB chief commissioner Greg Hood told The Australian the incident is a serious one and added that the investigation is ongoing.