I suppose this falls into the category of “all’s well that ends well,” though it sure makes for quite a dramatic video!
In this post:
Avion Express A320 runs off Vilnius runway
This incident happened on Saturday, February 3, 2024, and involves Avion Express flight X98242, from Milan (BGY) to Vilnius (VNO). The flight was operated by a 12-year-old Airbus A320 with the registration code LY-NVL, which is a former Wizz Air aircraft. For those not familiar, Avion Express is a Lithuanian charter operator, so the company primarily operates flights on behalf of other airlines.
Anyway, the plane landed on runway 19 at Vilnius Airport at around 2:19PM local time. After touching down, the aircraft veered right to the point that it was off the runway on the soft ground. However, the pilots managed to straighten the plane out, and get it back onto the runway centerline.
The plane then managed to taxi to its arrival position without assistance. Incidents don’t get much more seamless than this in terms of getting to the gate. As you’d expect, the plane looks like an absolute mess, and like it had been off-roading (or in this case, off-runwaying). 😉
For what it’s worth, about 30 hours after the incident, the plane is still on the ground in Vilnius. Presumably the aircraft requires inspections, and while it’s possible that the aircraft may be damaged, this plane has pretty low utilization, so it’s also just possible that it doesn’t have its next flight for some time. For example, since the start of the year, the jet has only operated a total of five flights.
The air traffic control audio from this incident
While it’s perhaps (sort of) funny to joke that the pilots may have just taxied to their arrival stand and pretended like nothing happened, that’s not how things unfolded.
VASAviation has a great recreation of what happened with this incident, showing both the position of the aircraft, as well as the air traffic control audio:
Air traffic controller: “I saw you went off the runway.”
Pilot: “Really, indeed.”
Air traffic controller: “What kind of help do you need?”
Pilot: “Nothing needed for now.”
Air traffic controller: “Are you able to taxi on your own power or do you need any assistance?”
Pilot: “We’re able on our own power.”
An Avion Express Airbus A320 veered off the runway at Vilnius Airport, during some pretty snowy and icy conditions. While runway excursions happen every so often, I’ve never seen such a seamless recovery, for better or worse. The plane gets back onto the runway centerline and taxis to the arrival stand under its own power.
You wouldn’t know anything had happened, except the plane looks like an absolute dirty mess.
What do you make of this A320 incident in Vilnius?