Thai moves stricken A330, investigation begins

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Thai Airways has removed the Airbus A330-300 involved in a landing accident at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport on 8 September, which may have been caused by a defective landing gear component.

The aircraft, registered HS-TEF, came off runway 19L at Suvarnabhumi upon landing after one of its landing gear bogies collapsed, causing damage to the engines. The stricken aircraft obstructed the runway, restricting the usable length of the runway to 2,000m (6,560ft) and causing delays to a number of flights.

Thai had planned to move the aircraft on 10 September, however, poor weather delayed that until the afternoon of 11 September. Airports of Thailand says that the runway returned to full operations only a few hours later.

Photographs carried by the Thai media show the aircraft being towed to a nearby hangar on all three landing gear bogies.

Thai Airways says that an accident investigation has been started by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee of Thailand. Authorities from the US and France, as well as Airbus and Pratt & Whitney will also be involved.

At a press conference held on 11 September, Thai's executive vice-president for the technical department Montree Jumrieng said testing showed that the accident was caused by the failure of a defective bogie beam.

In 2011, the EASA issued an emergency airworthiness directive that limited the life of main landing gear bogie beams on Airbus A340s and A330s after ground testing on an A340-600 led to premature fracturing on one of the beams. EASA subsequently issued further airworthiness directives calling for increased inspections on A330 bogie beams.

Montree says that inspections of bogie beams on other Thai A330-300s found cracks developing in some bogie beams after three or four rounds of maintenance, with the parts subsequently replaced. The particular aircraft involved in the accident had its bogie beams inspected in February 2012 and was found to still be in a useable condition.

Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets database shows that the A330 was built in 1995 for Thai and has been operated solely by the carrier since new.