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Updated: 20 December 2017

The investigation commenced as the result of two loading events involving Airbus aircraft operated by Jetstar, on 19 and 29 October 2015.

Since commencing the investigation, the ATSB became aware of two other loading-related occurrences in July and October 2015, and another occurred in October 2017. On each occasion an aircraft took off after incorrect passenger information was used by flight crews for weight and performance calculations. No flights were outside of the aircraft’s approved flight envelope, but weight and balance was significantly affected on four occasions and rotation performance on take-off was affected once.

There have also been several loading-related, non-reportable events advised to the ATSB by the aircraft operator. These reports provided additional information related to the occurrences under investigation and, to enable the more effective examination of any common issues, the investigation was changed from an occurrence investigation to an issues investigation on 8 September 2017. The investigation is continuing and has now:

  • interviewed ground and flight crews about several related occurrences
  • reviewed the operator’s internal procedures and preventative- and recovery-type risk controls regarding aircraft loading
  • collected and analysed information about the development and implementation of a new boarding management system, as well as the operator’s change management processes
  • interviewed some staff involved in the boarding management system project.

On completion of the draft report and internal review, the report will be sent to directly involved parties for comment before the report is finalised and published.

Should a safety issue be identified during the course of an investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify those affected and seek safety action to address the issue.




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.

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