An Emirates Airlines Airbus A340-500, Emirates Airlines Airbus A340-500, registration A6-ERG performing flight EK407 from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with 225 people on board, damaged and decommissioned the main runway at Melbourne airport while taking-off.
The aircraft ran off the runway 16 (length 3657 meters / 12,000 feet) around 22:30 local (12:30GMT) March 20, during its take-off run, struck its tail on the runway, and hit the runway end lights and the localizer antenna past the end of the runway 16.
The airplane climbed out safely, and tried to dump fuel over the ocean at Port Philip Bay but was forced to return to Melbourne for an immediate emergency landing when smoke started to fill the cabin.
The airplane was fully fuelled for the long non-stop flight to Dubai, and the heavily loaded aircraft landed hard on Melbourne’s runway 34. She was able to taxi to the apron after being inspected by airport’s emergency services.
Severe abrasions occurred to the tail skin and several access panels have been ripped off during the tail strike at take-off. The hard landing, un-avoidable due to the full fuel weight, has reportedly caused damage to the landing gear.
Melbourne airport authorities have confirmed that ILS runway 16 will need repairs and will not be available until Monday, March 23rd.
For full technical details of the accident including NOTAMs and METARs please visit Aviation Herald. Hat tip to Simon Hradecky who runs a great site keeping track of all the aviation incidents around the world.
The ATSB has released its preliminary report. Read about it here.