Australian aviation safety investigators have started an urgent inquiry after a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner operated by Vietnam Airlines nearly landed at Melbourne Tullamarine airport without its landing gear extended. The pilots aborted the landing during final approach, just 60 seconds from touchdown and only when an air traffic controller noticed the landing gear had not deployed as would be standard during this critical phase of flight.
It’s not known why the landing gear was not extended during the first approach but after initiating a so-called go-around, the plane returned around five minutes later for a safe and uneventful landing. Investigators have not been drawn on whether the incident was caused by a technical problem or possible pilot error.
The near three-year-old plane had departed Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday night and eventually landed just after 8.20am. The airline has not yet confirmed how many passengers and crew were onboard the aircraft and has not provided any details about the flight crew. The plane has a capacity for 264 passengers.
“During approach to land, the crew was advised by Melbourne Air Traffic Control that the landing gear was not extended as is standard,” a statement released by Vietnam Airlines on Thursday night read.
“The crew initiated a missed approach, then circled the airport and landed safely,” the statement continued.
“Immediately after the flight, Vietnam Airlines representatives started working closely with the Australian Transport Safety Commission. Safety is the utmost priority of Vietnam Airlines and the airline is committed to supporting investigations into this matter.”
The ATSB confirmed it had opened an investigation, calling the incident an “incorrect configuration incident”. Investigators will publish a report once enquiries have been completed.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.