Aviation safety investigations & reports

Fumes event involving Airbus A320, VH-VNO, 211 km N of Melbourne Airport, Vic, on 1 March 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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On 1 March 2016, a Tiger Airways Airbus A320 aircraft, registered VH-VNO, departed Brisbane, Queensland, on a scheduled passenger service to Melbourne, Victoria. On board were the captain, the first officer, four cabin crew members, and 63 passengers.

At about 0900 Eastern Daylight-saving Time (EDT), when the aircraft was abeam Parkes, New South Wales, the cabin crew detected a strong odour in the rear of the cabin, and notified the captain. The cabin crew were unsure what the smell was, but they later described it as being like that of an extinguished cigarette.

At 0933, the aircraft was about 211 km north of Melbourne, when the cabin crew manager advised that three cabin crew members were feeling unwell, and that one had vomited.

The flight crew contacted air traffic control, declared a PAN, and requested direct tracking to Melbourne. The captain advised the passengers that fire vehicles and ambulance would be present for their arrival at Melbourne Airport. 

After landing, the aircraft taxied to the bay, followed by the airport rescue and firefighting service. After shutting the engines down, the captain advised the fire commander that other than sick members of the cabin crew, everything was normal. The fire crew did not find any source of fumes or fire, nor did a subsequent engineering inspection reveal the source.

This incident demonstrates effective crew resource management techniques to deal with an abnormal and evolving situation.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 49

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General details
Date: 01 March 2016   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 09:33 ESuT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 211 km N of Melbourne Airport    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Fumes  
Release date: 27 July 2016   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus  
Aircraft model A320-232  
Aircraft registration VH-VNO  
Serial number 4053  
Operator Tiger Airways Australia  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Brisbane, Qld  
Destination Melbourne, Vic.  
Last update 14 November 2018