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Updated: 23 August 2016

Completion of the draft investigation report has been delayed due to competing team member priorities and workload, and to allow additional investigative work to be finalised. This additional work includes:

  • obtaining and consolidating additional evidence
  • analysis of evidence held and the development and test of investigation findings.

When complete, the draft report will be released to directly involved parties (DIP) for comment and on the factual accuracy of the draft report. Feedback from those parties over the 28-day DIP period will be considered for inclusion in the final investigation report.




On 29 October 2015, an Airbus A321, registered VH-VWT and operated by Jetstar Airways (Jetstar), was scheduled to conduct a passenger flight from Melbourne, Victoria, to Perth, Western Australia. During the take-off roll, the pilot flying noticed that the aircraft was nose-heavy and required an almost full aft control input to raise the aircraft’s nose. Once airborne, the flight crew requested the cabin crew to confirm the passenger numbers and seating locations. The flight crew re-entered the updated information into the flight management computer and identified that the aircraft was outside the aircraft’s loading limits for take-off and landing. Passengers were relocated within the aircraft cabin to return the aircraft to within allowable limits for the remainder of the flight and landing.

Ten days earlier, an Airbus A320, registered VH-VQG and being operated by Jetstar, was being prepared for a scheduled passenger flight from Brisbane, Queensland, to Melbourne. During the passenger boarding process, the flight crew were advised of a discrepancy at the passenger check-in, and that 12 passengers were still to board the aircraft. A short time later, the flight crew were advised that the issue had been resolved, and they were given final passenger numbers.

During the flight to Melbourne, the flight crew requested the cabin crew to confirm the total number of passengers on board the aircraft. The passenger count in the cabin suggested that the aircraft departed Brisbane with 16 more passengers than advised, and the aircraft was about 1,328 kg heavier than the take-off weight used to calculate the take-off and landing data for the flight. The crew recalculated the aircraft’s landing data prior to the descent into Melbourne.

The ATSB has commenced an investigation into these two aircraft loading events, which will include:

  • interviews with the flight and ground operations crews
  • a review of the Jetstar internal procedures regarding aircraft loading
  • a review of preventative- and recovery-type risk controls for aircraft loading.


The information contained in this web update is released in accordance with section 25 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and is derived from the initial investigation of the occurrence. Readers are cautioned that new evidence will become available as the investigation progresses that will enhance the ATSB's understanding of the accident as outlined in this web update. As such, no analysis or findings are included in this update.

General details
Date: 29 October 2015 Investigation status: Active 
Time: 1500 EST Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
Location   (show map):Melbourne Airport Occurrence type:Aircraft preparation 
State: Victoria Occurrence class: Operational 
Release date: 24 August 2016 Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
Report status: Pending Highest injury level: None 
Expected completion: December 2017  
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Airbus 
Aircraft model: A321 
Aircraft registration: VH-VWT  
Serial number: 3717 
Operator: Jetstar Airways 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Sector: Jet 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Melbourne, Vic
Destination:Perth, WA
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Airbus 
Aircraft model: A320 
Aircraft registration: VH-VQG 
Serial number: 2787 
Operator: Jetstar Airways 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Sector: Jet 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Brisbane, Qld
Destination:Melbourne, Vic.
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Last update 17 October 2017