Lack of maintenance support to assess a hard landing prompted an Airbus A321 crew to return to Dusseldorf, after which the aircraft was found to have sustained serious damage.

The Germania A321 – with 215 passengers and seven crew members – had sustained a 3.32g impact during the landing at Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands, on 16 July last year.

It had initially executed a go-around after bouncing on touchdown following an ILS approach to runway 01. The aircraft subsequently landed on the second attempt some 9min later.

The crew carried out an external check on the aircraft, without discovering anything unusual, and the captain contacted the carrier's maintenance control centre in Germany for assistance in interpreting an automated report generated by the landing.

But Spanish investigation authority CIAIAC says that the "absence of criteria" regarding the meaning of the hard-landing report, combined with the "lack of maintenance support" at the airport, led the crew to opt to return to Dusseldorf.

Upon arriving at Dusseldorf inspectors determined that the aircraft needed to be withdrawn from service. Components of the left-hand main landing-gear needed to be replaced before the A321 returned to service.

CIAIAC says initial information on the event had been received on 30 August last year, but confirmation about the extent of the damage was not obtained until the first half of November.

The inquiry says the captain had accumulated 6,830h but the first officer had only 325h.

CIAIAC states, in an update to the investigation, that its analysis work has been completed, and that it intends to issue "shortly" a final report on the event.

Source: Cirium Dashboard