Incident description
Last updated: 23 April 2014
Status:Preliminary - official
Date:Sunday 27 April 2008
Type:Silhouette image of generic A343 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A340-313
Operator:Virgin Atlantic Airways
Registration: G-VAIR
C/n / msn: 164
First flight: 1997
Engines: 4 CFMI CFM56-5C4
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 14
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 108
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 122
Airplane damage: Minor
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) (   Kenya) show on map
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:London-Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO/HKNA), Kenya
Airbus A340 G-VAIR was scheduled to operate a London Heathrow (LHR) to Nairobi (NBO) passenger flight. The crew reported for duty at 17:45 hrs at London Heathrow and the flight was uneventful until the landing.
The 01:00 GMT ATIS obtained for Nairobi before the top of descent reported the wind to be from 040░ at 3 kt with 7 km visibility, broken cloud at 1,600 ft, temperature and dewpoint 15░C and QNH 1020. The crew carried out an RNAV (Area Navigation) approach for runway 06 at Nairobi. The ATIS weather was confirmed with ATC during the early part of the approach. Later during the approach ATC passed information to G-VAIR that an aircraft ahead had reported the landing visibility as 3,000 m with a cloudbase of 300 ft agl. The first officer, who was pilot flying (PF), rebriefed the initial go-around actions and the approach was continued with the autopilot and autothrottle engaged.
The crew stated that they became visual with the runway at a height of between 300 ft and 200 ft. At the decision height of 200 ft, both pilots could see all the approach lights and a good section of runway lights. The autopilot was disconnected at 100 ft radio altitude and the PF began to flare the aircraft between 75 ft and 50 ft radio altitude. The aircraft floated at around 20 ft for a few seconds before it entered an area of fog and the PF lost sight of the right side of the runway and the runway lights. The commander also lost sight of the right side of the runway. The aircraft touched down normally on the main gear only; the body and nose gear did not contact the ground throughout the event. The commander became aware of the left runway edge lights moving rapidly closer to him before he lost the lights completely and was only aware of their position by the glow of the lights illuminating the fog. The commander called "GO AROUND" and the PF immediately advanced the thrust levers from idle to full thrust within one second. G-VAIR became airborne after a period of just under five seconds on the ground. The gear retracted normally and the crew continued with the go-around, climbing to 9,000 ft to enter the hold. The crew suspected that the aircraft might have departed the left side of the runway. An inspection by airport staff confirmed the presence of a single set of landing gear marks off to the left of the paved surface. With the first officer remaining as PF, the crew carried out an uneventful diversion at FL230 to Mombasa followed by a normal, day VMC landing.


Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) - U.K.
report status: Preliminary
report number: AAIB Special Bulletin S4/2008
report released:25-JUL-2008
duration of investigation:89 days (3 months)
download report: AAIB Bulletin S4/2008 (AAIB Special Bulletin S4/2008)


Add your photo of this accident or aircraft

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from London-Heathrow Airport to Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as the crow flies is 6792 km (4245 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkĺs opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
languages: English Franšais Nederlands Deutsch Espanol