On 6 November 2021, an Ethiopian Airlines A350-900 with registration ET-AYB was involved in an incident. During the final approach, a gust of wind resulted in the plane banking to the right side, and the right-side wingtip touched the ground.
The incident happened in Runway 03R in Tambo International Airport, South Africa. The flight was a scheduled passenger flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Johannesburg, South Africa. Although the aircraft was damaged substantially, no one was injured.
The flight to Johannesburg had three pilots, nine cabin crew, and 68 passengers. The aircraft was on final approach 1000 feet above ground level when the ATC reported wind from 300 degrees, at 22knts.
The pilot in command had attempted to land the aircraft in the touchdown zone but couldn’t. Due to extreme wind go-around was performed. During the early stages of going around, the aircraft was hit by winds from the left side, which caused the aircraft to the bank to the right. The ATC cleared the aircraft to fly at 8000 feet above sea level, and the aircraft later landed on runway 03L. There was also a white scar mark, around 110m in the touchdown zone.
The pilot in command was experienced with a total of 10,640+ flying hours, 1730+ hours on the type. The co-pilot had a total flight time of 2322 hours. He was relatively new on the A350. He was issued a rating in June 2020. He had flow Boeing 737 before.
The aircraft involved in the incident has a very good reputation for its safety. The aircraft has never been involved in a serious accident. It was manufactured in 2020 and last been inspected on 13 October 2021. The aircraft’s maximum takeoff weight is 278,000kg. The aircraft had 204,000 takeoff weight and 178,200 on the same flight. The aircraft had nearly 8,300 kg of fuel remaining on the ground. Both the engines were Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines. The aircraft had to be grounded for repairs.
There is no evidence of any fire before or after the impact. The crew was able to gain full control of the aircraft. The ground lasted around 10 minutes, and the aircraft landed safely. However, the investigation is still ongoing, and other aspects of the accident will be discussed in the final report.
Source: “South African Civil Aviation Authority“