ATSB and CASA to Investigate Jetstar's Takeoff Procedures

5th Dec 2015

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) will take time to investigate Jetstar's takeoff procedures after the pilots miscalculated the weight and the number of passengers on board two of its planes in October.

Fortunately, in both instances, the flights went without any problems and the pilots managed to land their respective aircrafts safely, with no injuries to the passengers.

The first of the two incidents happened on 19th October when an Airbus A320 from Brisbane to Melbourne took off with 16 "extra" passengers than the pilots were advised. At the takeoff the total weight of the jet was around 1328 kilograms more than the calculated takeoff and landing data.

Ten days later, on 29th October, the same thing happened with Jetstar's plane flying from Melbourne to Perth. The pilot of the Airbus A321 noticed the plane's nose was heavy soon after it took to the skies and had to raise the nose.

The pilot then asked the crew to count the passengers and confirm that everyone is on their respective seats. Once they returned with the information it was discovered that the plane was outside the loading limits for takeoff and landing. After moving the passengers to other seats, the aircraft returned to the allowed balance limits for the rest of the flight.

Although there were no injuries on either flight, the ATSB noted that the incidents were "serious" and has started an investigation.

The full investigation should be complete by October next year. However, Jetstar confirms it has put extra measures to check if their flights had been loaded correctly and are within their weight/balance limits.

A spokesman for the Australian airline said:

"We've had no flights operate with this type of error since we introduced these measures."

CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) has also started an investigation to the cause of these loading errors. A spokesman for CASA said:

"The travelling public can be assured CASA will take all appropriate actions to ensure Jetstar has robust and appropriate systems and processes in place to ensure passengers loading mistakes are not made. Casa is oversighting the changes Jetstar have made in relation to passenger loading and aircraft weight and balance following the October incidents."