Air Asia plane skids off runway


An Air Asia plane carrying 130 passengers and crew skidded off the runway as it landed at Kuching Airport in heavy rain last night.

Four passengers were believed to be unwell or suffered minor injuries.

The accident happened when Flight AK5218 from KL landed on runway 25 at 10.02pm. A passenger said the plane veered sharply to the left and right after it touched down and then skidded off the runway onto soft ground.

The question is, is drainage at the airport a problem – or was it something else?

The runway has been closed for now, and Kuching flights have been cancelled, Air Asia said on its website.

“So now, everyone can’t fly?” asked one tweet.

Services, however, are expected to be resumed later today.

Some users have suggested that drainage or some other factor at the airport runway could be a problem as several cases of skidding have been reported over the last decade (see below). The Kuching Airport runway length was “extended from 2454m to 3780m and shoulders from 46m to 60m, extension of existing parallel taxiway to a full parallel taxiway with interconnection/rapid exit taxiways including widening of taxiway fillets and shoulders to 30m”, according to Wikipedia. The work, under a RM620 million contract (another report mentions a figure of RM850 million) undertaken by Global Upline Sdn Bhd, was completed in 2008. Global Upline adviser Ting Pek King had been reported as saying that the four-year-long construction work was complicated as the area was swampy.

See Bernama report here.

Wikipedia reports other skidding or crash-landing incidents involving Kuching Airport:

  • In 1999, a De Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou on a routine training mission crashed at the swampy area at the end of the runway. Five RMAF personnel were killed.
  • In Feb 2006, a Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330 slipped off the runway while taxiing for take off. There were no fatalities or injuries. All flights into and out of Kuching had to be diverted, delayed or cancelled.
  • On Feb 27 2006, a cargo plane of courier company DHL skidded at the end of the runway of the airport when landing at 6.20 am.
  • On 13 January 2007, a Boeing 737-200 belonging to the Gading Sari Aviation Services Sdn Bhd crash-landed while attempting to land at 5.52 a.m. The aircraft’s fuselage was badly damaged, and the landing gears and right engine were torn off during the crash. All four crew members escaped unhurt. The airport was closed for six hours while the plane was towed away from the crash site and debris cleared from the runway. Departures and arrivals of 16 MAS and 14 AirAsia flights were delayed affecting 2,200 passengers – 1,000 passengers of MAS and 1,200 from AirAsia. An earlier flight from Kuala Lumpur had to be diverted to Miri Airport. Damages included navigational lights – eight taxi lights, five runway edge lights, two end lights, and one precision approach path indicator. It reopened at noon.
  • On 10 January 2011, AirAsia Flight 5218 skidded on the runway whilst landing. The incident occurred around 10:15pm during a heavy downpour. Four passengers were rushed to Sarawak General Hospital, believed to have suffered from health complications.
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Kuching Kid

The airline is not to be blamed for this incident. Weight calculation and smooth landing from AirAsia pilots are best I’ve ever seen. Airport problem may not be the reason too. By the way, where did you get the weather report calculation from. Thats not how it will show when it is heavily raining with 35km/h wind blowing around the aircraft whilst approaching landing. Oh and when they say low cost, it’s because the airport is low cost, not the planes, coz all planes price up to the same. Aircraft cabin and seats quality are always maintained. The maintenance process… Read more »


What you pay is what you get.

Ravi Shanker

May i suggest that Airasia focus on safety rather than rushing the flights. Drop passengers & Bag, pick up next passengers & Bags all within short period and fly again. Is this safe.Filling gas while unloading & loading passengers is this safe?
Its time for Malaysian Airport Authority put in more pressure to all operators on safety.

Kacau Kacau

This was the reported weather:-
WBGG 101330Z 36001KT 7000 -RA FEW015CB SCT020 BKN150 25/25 Q1007 RERA TEMPO 5000 RA
WBGG 101300Z 27004KT 5000 RA SCT020 BKN150 25/25 Q1006 NOSIG

In plain words, almost nil wind, 7km visibility(anything above 2km is considered very good for airline operation), light rain, slightly/partly cloudy with a few storm cells, 25 degree Celcuis.

A modern jet liner can handle weather way more severe than this. In fact this weather is considered good weather condition as far as aviation is considered….


For understanding, flying in this heavy downpour usually require the pilot to use AUTOPILOT mode during flight. That would be much safer, however, during landing it is required for pilot to handle the aircraft manually. So can I blamed the pilot? Just because he can’t land it with proper airspeed? Or the wind is too strong until the aircraft skided? Aha.. ;D


Tony’s strategy is to brag a lot (about) Air Asia. Don’t you get that?…


I belive the pilots have a lot of experience during landing.Y must the pilots landing at the heavy rain?
4 safety the pilots can take another round 4 landed
if he thing it not safe to land…..


Its rediculous to blame air asia. Btw about their landings, have those that said air asia landings is bad, ever fly air asia before? I travel air asia frequently and never experience any bad landing before. Their landings are much smoother than other airlines. Kuching airport is the one at fault. Imagine an airbus 330 taxiing also can skid off the taxiway during heavy rain. Their Tower Controller should have known better that the runway was water cloaked and should not have permitted any aircraft from landing during that time. I hope the authority will look into this to prevent… Read more »


yes.. correct.. this ting fellow…. theres one time i had dinner in this ting’s hotel … then suddenly the rstaurant’s ceiling fall of n theres downpour of water from the heavy rain outside… the buffet line all soak in water n its kinda dangerous n at the same time its hilarious how this greedy fellow build his silly hotel quickly but totally no quality just to earn fastneasy money.. n same goes to the kuching airport…

Feringgi Boy

Mr Fernandez should focus on Air Asia, and not wasting time and money on F1.

Air Asia has been implementing non-customer friendly policies of late in its cost cutting measures. Its promotion nowadays are so full of gimmicks … with hidden cost. Soon air Asia will charge you for baggage check-in(?)

Please go back to the basics that make you successful. Do not take your passengers for granted.


Nobody wants any casualty. Hope this doesnt happen again in the near future. I m a frequent traveller and happened to be using AirAsia as much as TigerAir as these two flights are a budget flight. This incident frightened me a bit but what can we say…when time comes…things happen anyway. For better service, check/inspect and do something abt the aircraft as well as the runway…People’s life is not as cheap as the budget fare. Do remember that…Even if AirAsia insurance cover the sum of RM300,000/- for any lost of life but that wont bring them back will be… Read more »




As usual, Mr/Ms NOBODY taking responsible for runway skid problem, and NOBODY assure the runway quality and inspection. This is great.


Don’t blame air asia lah. Am from Kuching. A few times, MAS tried to land also cannot see run-way. Had to fly one more round again.

I truly believe it’s airport problem. Probably the lightings on runway or landing strip. Some more I heard got lots of mud at the side.

This “Ting fellow” got big-big connection mah. So got all the projects, but he’s famous for low quality. For someone from Kuching, not surprised at all.


correct correct! this ting fellow always do the wrong ting!
Taib is too busy with his new wife lah. Aiyah next time i take firefly lah…


why everyone seems like blaming the operator of airlines which is airasia?? but why everyone never talk anything good bout airasia.. its obvious that moment is heavy rain.. dont blame the pilot, crew or airlines.. from the picture itself it is very clear it is not a crashland.. skided landing.. shud thanks to pilot coz he manage to controlled the aircraft in that such situation.. it’s not easy.. shud thanks to crew manage to evacuate the passanger within 90 second.. without airasia people are not effort to study abroad.. to meet their family more frequent.. so think about it.. dunt… Read more »


hampeh…. teksi lcct no trip coz this accident.. lain kali landed kasi slow ler..


Frankly….I cant remember having a smooth landing on a Air Asia plane ever…

They are always rushing….

Air Asia needs to get its act right…it would be a shame if the whole thing collapses due to a silly accident….


I’ve only had a dozen or so flights on AirAsia, and I think they’re great – way better than other operators in cattle-truck class, like Ryan Air (who are planning to make the toilets coin-operated and to remove seats on shorter routes to achieve greater density with standing passengers). I’ve never experienced a rough landing with Air Asia. Are you sure it’s not you? Could the hysterical screaming on approach be distracting the pilots?


Can ask ah? Why (a lot) in Sarawak also that Ting do one?Nobody more clever than him ah?BTW, are we all waiting for a major disaster before rectiying the problem, as always?

Andrew I

Tony must have had an “unpleasant fright”…


Yes agree. Airport accidents are kept silent

Btw. Safety is not priority. Money that they count. …


Any kuchingites will tell you that KIA is the most accident-prone major airport in Msia. They were 3 accidents recorded on Airport Safety Net since 1999. That’s high considering the low traffic volume. People who live in the airport’s vicinity will tell you that many more accidents (probably) went unreported (in the news).


what to do cutting cost lah. (Maybe) Tayar botak so skid lah. could be the pilot kayu also, … (maybe) graduate cannot read and write English. Maybe the kuching airport got longkang problem and water stuck lah. all the kuching airport money maybe spend on… mah!


A warning to Mr Fernandenz – do not be over-zedalous in your cost cutting measures by skimping on maintenance to compromise on passenger safety!


I am very worried for Air Asia, now that Mr Tony has decided to stray away from its core business to try to be a player in the F1 arena.

Mr Fernandez is no Branson.
Please do not get carried away.