Emirates tailstrike incident due to 'human error'

Wrong weight punched into onboard computer by crew.
An A340-500 in Emirates livery.
An A340-500 in Emirates livery.


An Australian Transport Safety Bureau report, released this morning, has confirmed that the tailstrike incident involving an Emirates A340-500 at Melbourne Airport on 20th March was caused by the flight crew logging the wrong weight for the aircraft before taking off.

The weight punched into the jet’s onboard computer was 100 tonnes less than the actual take-off weight of 360 tonnes. As the crew rotated the plane for take-off, it failed to respond, leading to the tailstrike, damage to airport landing lights and a radio antenna.

"There is no suggestion of any problem with the aircraft," director of aviation safety investigation Julian Walsh told reporters, according to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

The bureau is still investigating how the data error occurred.

Speculation had been rife in recent days that the incident had been due to a company instruction to take off at reduced power to save on fuel, or that the pilots were fatigued.

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