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On 4 and 29 May 2010, an Airbus A330-343E aircraft, registered 9M-XXB, was being operated by AirAsia X on scheduled passenger services from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to the Gold Coast, Queensland. On both occasions, there was low cloud and reduced visibility on arrival at the Gold Coast.  

During non-precision instrument approaches conducted at Gold Coast Airport on both days, the flight crews descended the aircraft below the segment minimum safe altitudes. As a result, the aircraft descended to an altitude where there was no longer separation assurance from terrain and aircraft operating outside controlled airspace.

While those operational non-compliances occurred prior to the final approach fix for the instrument approaches and not below 1,200 ft above aerodrome height, they were indicators of a minor safety issue regarding the operator's training of its flight crews.

In response to this incident, the aircraft operator made a number of changes to flight crew procedures when conducting instrument approaches. The operator also modified the recurrent simulator training program to include more complex non‑precision instrument approaches.

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Safety issue

AO-2010-027-SI-01 -  

Flight crew proficiency

The aircraft operator’s flight crews were probably not adequately equipped to manage the vertical profile of non-precision approaches in other than autopilot managed mode.
Safety issue details
Issue number:AO-2010-027-SI-01
Who it affects:
Status:Adequately addressed

General details
Date: 04 May 2010 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: about 0730 EST  
Location:Gold Coast Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Flight below minimum altitude 
Release date: 10 February 2012 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Airbus Industrie 
Aircraft model: A330 
Aircraft registration: 9M-XXB 
Serial number: 974 
Operator: AirAsia X 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Destination:Gold Coast, Qld
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Last update 18 April 2018