Crashed Yemenia A310 faced challenging Comoros approach

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Few details are known about the circumstances of the loss of a Yemenia Airbus A310-300 as it neared the Comoros.

But Airbus states that the accident occurred around 01:50 today. Weather conditions at the time indicate good visibility - although the approach would have been in darkness - but strong southerly winds, gusting to 35kt.

Moroni's Prince Said Ibrahim Airport is located on the western coast of Grande Comore. It has a single north-south runway, designated 02/20, which is 2,900m (9,515ft) long.

Aeronautical charts from air navigation authority ASECNA depict a VOR-DME-ILS approach to runway 02, although the wind direction suggests the A310 would have been more likely to land on runway 20.

Charts for runway 20 show a prescribed-track visual manoeuvre, an approach which commences from the south before aircraft peel off to the west, pass the airport, then perform a right-hand 180° turn for final.

Grande Comore has high terrain to the south and east of the airport and approach manoeuvring for both runway directions at Moroni is performed over the waters to the west.

The specific phase of flight and intended approach for the A310 have yet to be confirmed.

Yemenia flight IY626 had been conducting a service to Moroni from the Yemeni capital Sana'a.