Aviation occurrence briefs

Ground handling incident involving Airbus A380, Sydney Airport, NSW, on 28 August 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 28 August 2018 at about 1400 Eastern Standard Time, an Airbus A380 departed Sydney, New South Wales for a regular public transport flight to Dallas, US.

Passing FL 250 on climb, a loud noise was detected coming from a door on the upper deck. The door was locked correctly and not at risk of opening, however due to the passenger discomfort and the unknown nature of the issue the decision was made to return the aircraft to Sydney. The crew conducted a fuel dump and an uneventful approach and landing into Sydney.

The post-flight engineering inspection revealed damage to the door, caused by contact with a catering truck while the aircraft was loaded. The door seal retainer and seal on the underside of the door was damaged. Due to distraction of the non-normal operation of the catering truck, the damage to the door seal and seal retainer was not observed by the catering crew and therefore not reported to the flight crew or engineering. This resulted in the aircraft departing with the damaged door.

Figure 1: Damage to the door seal and door seal retainer

Figure 1: Damage to the door seal and door seal retainer

Source: Operator

Safety action

The operator launched an investigation into the ground handling incident.

Safety message

All persons working in and around aircraft have a responsibility to notify the operating crew about any damage to the aircraft. Ground crew should always be on the lookout for damage or anything abnormal. If any doubt exists, it is imperative to notify flight and/or ground crew for an engineering inspection.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.


General details
Date: 28 August 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1400 EST    
Location   (show map): Sydney Airport    
State: New South Wales    
Release Date: 29 November 2018   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus  
Aircraft model A380-842  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Sydney Airport, NSW  
Last update 12 December 2018