Aviation safety investigations & reports

Engine cowling malfunction involving Airbus A330, B-6099, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, New South Wales, on 11 June 2017

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed
Phase: Final report: Dissemination Read more information on this investigation phase

Final Report

Download final report
[Download  PDF: 1.77MB]

What happened

On 11 June 2017, an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, registered B-6099 and operated by China Eastern Airlines, departed Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (Sydney Airport) Australia on a scheduled passenger service to Shanghai, People’s Republic of China (China). During take-off, one of the three structural acoustic panels of the aircraft’s left engine inlet cowling, and the inboard outer skin failed. After reducing their fuel load and responding to the incident, the aircraft returned to Sydney about 42 minutes after departing. Debris from the left engine inlet cowling was strewn along the runway and the aircraft’s flight path.

What the ATSB found

There was limited physical evidence available, as the panel and other cowling debris was ingested into the engine. Therefore, despite extensive testing conducted by the engine and cowling manufacturers, the reason for the failure could not be conclusively determined. However, it was considered that the most likely reason for the failure was a localised disbond between the acoustic panel facing sheet and the honeycomb core.

This was the fourth inlet cowling failure event internationally, where an acoustic panel manufactured by Bombardier Aerospace on behalf of Rolls-Royce, fitted to an Airbus A330 aircraft with Trent 700 engines, had failed and was ingested into the engine.

What's been done as a result

As a result of this incident, Rolls-Royce amended service bulletin RB 211-71-AG419 R2 (now R3), which related to the inspection of the inlet acoustic panels. This service bulletin included increasing the initial and follow-on inspections by reducing the interval from 24 to 12 months (thereby increasing the frequency of inspections), the introduction of revised damage limits, and referencing a newly introduced training video that demonstrated how to conduct a ‘tap test’ to identify acoustic panel damage, including delamination. In addition, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2019-0042.

The operator, China Eastern Airlines, has proactively inspected their entire fleet of Rolls-Royce Trent 700 powered Airbus A330 aircraft and also reduced their inspection intervals from 24 to 12 months, thereby increasing the frequency of inspections.

Safety message

This event demonstrated the effectiveness of the certification design requirements and flight crew training to ensure continued flight despite effectively losing the power of one of two engines during a critical phase of flight.

Download final report
[Download  PDF: 1.77MB]

The occurrence


Safety analysis


Safety actions

Sources and submissions

General details
Date: 11 June 2017   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2042 EST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Sydney Airport   Investigation phase: Final report: Dissemination  
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 20 November 2019   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus  
Aircraft model A330-243  
Aircraft registration B-6099  
Serial number 916  
Operator China Eastern Airlines  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Destination Shanghai, China  
Last update 20 July 2020