TUI flight involved in ‘serious incident’ after passenger weights miscalculated

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A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) into a TUI flight travelling from Birmingham to Majorca found the aircraft had been involved in a “serious incident”. The issue occurred when a technology error saw passengers with the title “Miss” categorised as children onboard June 2020 flight.

This resulted in the estimated weight of the aircraft being significantly off.

Investigators found that an update to the airline’s reservation system, which had happened while flights were grounded during the first coronavirus lockdown, saw 38 passengers being allocated a child’s “standard weight” of 35kg instead of the adult estimate of 69kg.

As a result, the load sheet produced for the captain to determine inputs for take-off stated the aircraft was 1,200kg lighter than it actually was.

This led to the pilot taking off with “less thrust”.

Luckily, it did not cause any major problem to the operation of the flight and everyone on board was safe.

AAIB investigators said the glitch was a “simple flaw” in the updated system.

The programme was created overseas, in a country where the title “Miss” is used to categorise children rather than adults.

The exact nation the software was developed in has not been named.

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According to the experts, the flight was only “marginally less” than it was supposed to be.

The AAIB added: “Safe operation of the aircraft was not compromised.”

A similar problem impacted two other flights later on the same day.

Both are reported to have taken off with the wrong information on load sheets.

Despite this, no major issues were reported as a result of the inaccurate information.

Since then, TUI has updated its operations to include manual checks.

These new checks will ensure adult females are referred to as “Ms”.

In a statement, TUI said: “The health and safety of our customers and crew is always our primary concern.

“Following this isolated incident, we corrected a fault identified in our IT system.

“As stated in the report, the safe operation of the flight was not compromised.” has followed up with the airline for additional comment.

At the time of writing, TUI is not operating flights or holidays due to ongoing travel restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the holiday provider has detailed plans to return to flying as soon as May 17 in accordance with Government guidelines.

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