11 08 2022, Thursday 02:40
: 05-08-22 09:21

KLM Boeing 737-700 Lands In Amsterdam With Open Cargo Door

The crew did not have to divert for this particular incident, and landed safely in Schiphol.

The somewhat chaotic summer season has been stressful for airlines as they struggle to adapt their operations at various paces and against multiple regulations. And in such a stressful environment, airlines would wish to avoid incidences and accidents. Unfortunately for KLM, which has been having quite the profitable but disruptive recovery, the forward cargo door on its Boeing 737-700 misbehaved as it opened mid-flight.

On August 2nd, Flight KL 1542 was a scheduled morning from departing from Leeds and was headed for Amsterdam, using one of KLM's mini workhorses, the Boeing 737-700. The incident aircraft is registered as PH-BGT and nicknamed "Blauwe Kiekendief," a decade-old aircraft heavily utilized for this particular route. KL 1542 took off from Leeds' runway 32 at 11:56 and cruised at 27,000 feet before landing safely on Amsterdam's runway 18R almost 50 minutes later at 13:43.

Read more:  Air France-KLM returns to profit, aims to increase capacity to 90% 2019 levels

Throughout the flight, there was no report that anything unexpected was happening. Even as the flight landed routinely, albeit slightly delayed, everything seemed to be as usual. Until a video surfacing on social media showed how the forward cargo door on the aircraft was slightly inwards while it was still taxiing to its gate, an evident indication that the cargo door was open when it should've been closed.

Although KL 1542 landed without much a hitch to passengers and baggage, the opening of the forward cargo door still illuminates some probable cause for concern. Upon initial checks, it was found that the hatch did not open on the ground, meaning it could have only been opened during the flight.

According to KLM, the issue with the door undoubtedly happened over the North Sea, the body of water covered by almost half of the less than an hour's flight. And with an investigation underway on the incident, the airline can only comment with:

"During flight KL1542 from Leeds to Amsterdam on 2 August, one of the cargo hatches was partially pressed in due to a technical defect. Passengers and crew were not in any danger. There was also no risk of cargo or bags falling out."

Even with the ongoing investigation, PH-BGT has been repaired and continues to fly for KLM, just avoiding Leeds currently as it serves the Amsterdam-Naples-Amsterdam route before it moves onward to service the Amsterdam-Copenhagen-Amsterdam route.

Considering how frail the mechanisms of cargo doors can be, it is indeed possible for the opening to happen mid-flight. Though most of the flight covered the North Sea, the door most probably latched open when the aircraft descended from 27,000 feet upon approach. When the cabin was pressurized at cruising altitude, the mechanisms could remain engaged, and the door most likely remained closed. However, the mechanisms would disengage when the cabin was depressurizing, allowing the door to open.

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But if the cargo door opened mid-flight, how were all baggage still intact and accounted for? The answer could lie in the subtle disadvantageous design of the Boeing 737s' cargo doors. Unlike other aircraft, such as the Airbus A320, the cargo doors on the Boeing 737s open inwards instead of out, which takes up quite a substantial amount of space in the hold during loading. However, if the door was designed to open outward like other aircraft, passengers onboard KL 1542 that incidental Tuesday might never see their baggage again.

: Simple Flying

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