AirAsia Flight Lands at Wrong Airport Due to Pilot Error

Trevor English

A recent AirAsia flight from Sydney to Malaysia accidentally landed in Melbourne because the pilot typed in the wrong coordinates to the plane's GPS.

212 passengers were aboard the plane when the flight mistakenly landed at the wrong airport, thousands of miles off, according to CNN. This wasn't the only error made by the flight crew either, as they could have easily caught their mistakes in pre-flight checks. The navigation error resulted in coordinates that were 6,835 miles off course, and the problem was unable to be fixed while in the air.

Ultimately, the plane was  forced to land in Melbourne, Austrailia because the navigation system could not be redirected to the correct Malaysia destination and due to degrading weather.

air asia[Image Source: Wikimedia]

The plane reportedly sounded many error and warning messages prior to takeoff, but both pilots ignored the warnings until it was too late. Part of the mixup is blamed on the pilot and co-pilot having to switch duties on the day of the flight, but no level of confusion fully accounts for a destination 11,000 kilometers off course.

In response to the incident, AirAsia has implemented the following constraints:

- All AirAsia X aircraft have been equipped with upgraded flight management systems since the incident
- Development of a training bulletin and package for flight crew that emphasises correct operation and alignment of air data and inertial reference system
- Briefing all pilots on our internal investigation findings and reviewing recovery procedures to be undertaken

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