An Avion Express Airbus A320 suffered significant damage after a rather spectacular slide and runway excursion during its landing roll.
This accident happened on Saturday the 3rd of February. It involved flight X9-8242, which Avion Express has recently been performing weekly. This is reportedly a chartered flight. Avion Express operates charters and often flies on behalf of other airlines, as a wet-lease/ACMI contractor.
Avion Express flight 8242 was an A320 departing from Milan Bergamo Orio al Serio International Airport (LIME) in Italy, heading for Vilnius International Airport (EYVI) in Lithuania. On the day of this incident, there were 179 passengers and six crew on board the flight.
Avion Express A320 Runway Excursion
The Avion Express A320 crew departed from Bergamo using runway 28 and climbed to FL350 for their cruise. The flight itself appears to have been uneventful, and the crew set up an approach into runway 19 at Vilnius.
While there are videos of the accident, they don’t show the early part of the landing of the Avion Express A320. However, ADS-B data suggests that the aircraft initially touched down at or near the centerline of the runway.
Available video then shows the aircraft sliding sideways to the right, getting onto the soft ground next to the runway’s paved surface. The same ADS-B data suggests that the aircraft was doing close to 90 knots over the ground, as it veered off the runway.
Its engines were still in reverse, and kicking up mud everywhere, including on the aircraft itself. The Avion Express A320 finally slowed down and almost stopped, before getting back onto the runway at a speed of 5-6 knots.
These were the weather conditions at the approximate time of the accident (12:18 UTC):
- EYVI 031150Z 28013KT 6000 -DZ OVC003 05/04 Q0996 NOSIG=
- EYVI 031220Z 28013KT 5000 -DZ BR OVC003 05/04 Q0996 NOSIG=
The tower controller asked the crew if they needed any assistance. They replied that they could continue taxiing under their own power, so the controller cleared them to taxi off the runway, and onto the apron.
Nobody on board the Avion Express A320 or at the airport suffered any injuries. Vilnius doesn’t have another runway, so the airport had to close. Ground crews took approximately two and a half hours to inspect and clear the runway, so the airport could be opened again to other traffic.
As of this writing, the Avion Express A320 remains on the ground. Subsequent reports suggest that the underside of its fuselage has suffered a lot of damage. This aircraft is nearly 13 years old and has registration LY-NVL.
The jet first entered service in April 2011, with Wizz Air, who was operating it until January last year. Avion Express started operating it last August. It belongs to lessor Zephyrus Aviation Capital.