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.