A miscommunication between the flight and ground crews led to a minor incident on 31st March when an Airbus A320, operated by Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) collided with an aerobridge at the Melbourne Airport.
The plane was scheduled to fly to Kuala Lumpur from Melbourne.
According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which conducted a thorough investigation of the incident, the A320 bumped the aerobridge because the pilot released the park brake without first checking if the wheel chocks were still in place.
Before the accident the A320 pilot engaged the park break and went on to carry out an external inspection of the plane. As the park break indicator light on the nose landing gear was on, this led the aircraft maintenance engineer to assume that the park break would remain on, so he removed the main landing gear chocks. When the captain returned to the deck, he released the park break out of sequence and the plane rolled about three meters, colliding with the aerobridge.
A report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found that:
The ground and flight crew procedures were not well harmonized, leading to reduced cohesion between the crews.
In addition, ATSB report also stated:
These problems reduced the likelihood that the respective procedures would be followed correctly. In addition, the flight crew and engineers did not explicitly convey their actions and intentions to the others, resulting in a number of missed opportunities to discover the resulting procedural errors.
The ATSB did not want to point the finger and cast blame for the incident at anyone in particular, individual or organisation.
Responding to the incident and the ATSB report, Malaysia Airlines said it was planning to modify its procedures and have the flight crews inform the ground crews when they are about to release the park break in the future.
As an interim measure, Malaysia Airlines sent A330 flight crews a reminder to communicate with ground crews before releasing the park brake to verify that chocks are in place.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident.