The procedures provided to ground and flight crews by Malaysia Airlines Berhad and the towbarless tractor operator did not provide clear guidance or instruction on coordinating activities related to pushback and, in the case of the tractor operator, were informally replaced by local procedures
The proactive safety actions taken and planned by Malaysia Airlines Berhad and Menzies Aviation, in conjunction with the additional safety action taken by Aircraft Maintenance Services Australia (the engineering organisation), will improve crew coordination during ground operations and adequately address the safety issue.
Effective coordination and communication between airside crews can prevent or detect mistakes that could otherwise lead to damage or injury. The ATSB advises organisations that work airside and aircraft operators to ensure that ground and flight crew activities are harmonised, and to foster active communication and coordination between working crews.
Safety Advisory Notice: Coordination is key to airside safety
On 5 August 2016, Menzies Aviation (the tractor operator) developed a written local operating procedure to incorporate local differences in work practices and improve coordination between work crews.
On 27 May 2016, Malaysia Airlines Berhad reported that it was planning to amend its procedures so that flight crews advise ground crews whenever the park brake is about to be released. As an interim measure before the amendment could be approved, the operator sent A330 flight crews a reminder to communicate with ground crews before releasing the park brake to verify that chocks are in place.