Final Report


On 29 October 2016, an Airbus A320 registered VH-VQC was operating Jetstar flight JQ407 from Gold Coast to Sydney, New South Wales.

Before the aircraft arrived, the leading hand noticed the pit load sheet was not available. They were also advised to provide lifts, a toilet clean, and water top up upon the aircraft’s arrival, which was 3 minutes behind schedule.

Once the aircraft arrived, the leading hand estimated the unloading would require three dollies. Loader operator 1 unloaded containers from positions 41, 42, and 32 and assumed these were the only containers to be unloaded. Loader operator 1 checked the hold as per loading procedures, however did not detect a container in position 31. The leading hand witnessed loader operator 1 checking the aircraft hold and assumed all containers had been unloaded.

Loader operator 1 ceased loading to provide the lifts and clean the toilets. Loader operator 2 assisted with the water top up. After cleaning the toilets, loader operator 1 observed loader operator 2 continuing the loading process. Loader operator 2 presumed loader operator 1 had commenced loading and a container in position 31 was preloaded. Loader operator 2 completed the loading without the yellow copy of the underfloor load advice (ULA), as it was in loader operator 1’s pocket.

During pushback, the leading hand was advised bags were missing. Once the ground crew received the pit load sheet, it was confirmed there was a container in position 31 with 40 bags that should have been unloaded.

During cruise, the flight crew were advised of an extra container in position 31. The recalculated weight and trim showed the aircraft was within weight and balance limitations.

This incident highlights the importance of adhering to procedures during the completion of tasks and communication between fellow colleagues, especially while experiencing time pressures.

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 58

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