Aviation occurrence briefs

Low oxygen pressure in the cockpit involving an Airbus A380, near Broken Hill, NSW, on 27 October 2019

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 27 October 2019 at approximately 1740 Eastern Daylight-Saving Time, the crew of a foreign-registered Airbus A380 was conducting a regular public transport flight to Sydney Airport, New South Wales (NSW).

During cruise at FL 390 abeam Broken Hill, NSW the crew observed the cockpit oxygen bottle pressure of 487 psi. After referring to the flight crew operating manual (FCOM) for oxygen limitations, it was determined that this was below the minimum pressure for a two person flight crew.

The crew discussed the situation, taking into account fuel on board, distance to the destination, weather and an en route alternate, and decided to continue the flight to Sydney.

The crew notified air traffic control of the oxygen issue and were cleared to descend to 10,000 ft. Maintenance control centre was also contacted and the cabin crew were advised of an early descent.

On approach at 800 ft, the pressure dropped to 350 psi and the crew received an oxygen cockpit low pressure caution on the electronic centralised aircraft monitor. The aircraft landed safely at 0755 UTC.

Engineering inspection

Following the incident, an inspection on the oxygen bottle system revealed a leak at the filling port cap. Replacement components were placed on board the aircraft as a preventative measure in case of a further valve leak.

Safety message

This incident highlights the importance of positive crew resource management when handling unanticipated failures during flight. In this instance, the crew proactively identified the oxygen bottle pressure and took all appropriate actions by consulting the FCOM, discussing the situation, assessing their options and communicating with external stakeholders to ensure a desirable outcome.

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: 27 October 2019   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1740 EDT    
Location   (show map): Near Broken Hill    
State: New South Wales    
Release Date: 25 November 2019   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus  
Aircraft model A380  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Destination Sydney, New South Wales  
Last update 25 November 2019