Stringent checks on AirAsia X in Australia


SYDNEY: The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has increased checks on AirAsia flights, The West Australian reported today.

This comes in the wake of an incident where an AirAsia X flight from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur ended up in Melbourne instead when the pilot entered the wrong coordinates into the internal navigation system in March last year.

The crew, according to an Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report published last week, did not detect the navigation problem until the plane was airborne.

The plane was not fitted with an upgraded flight management system that would have prevented the data-entry error.

Their attempts to fix the problem made matters worse by affecting key flight guidance and control systems, said the report.

The problems meant the plane could land only in visual conditions and, when bad weather prevented it from doing so in Sydney, air-traffic controllers used radar to divert the flight to Melbourne.

A CASA spokeswoman was quoted by The West Australian as saying AirAsia X had been involved in two incidents in the past 18 months, including the one involving the departure from Sydney Airport.

The second involved proximity between an AirAsia A330 and an Airbus A320 on the Gold Coast on July 21 that was still under investigation.

According to The West Australian report, the AirAsia group was also involved in a serious incident in Perth in February when the pilots of an Indonesia AirAsia flight approaching the airport at night were told to abort their landing because they were 300m too low.

AirAsia X said it had upgraded flight management systems before the publication of last week’s ATSB report.

It said it had also developed a training package for crew on correct operation and alignment of air data and reference systems.

Meanwhile, in a statement to The New Daily, AirAsia said that the safety of passengers and crew was its number one priority at all times.

“AirAsia X has in place robust management systems to monitor and prevent similar incidents from reoccurring.

“The airline has regularly passed safety and security audits conducted by various international and local regulators. We remain committed to ensuring our compliance to all safety and security regulations.”