Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330 returns to Brisbane Airport, reportedly with two pitot tubes still covered
Malaysia Airlines flight MH134, an Airbus A330-200, returned to land at Brisbane International Airport, Australia after the airspeed indicators failed during takeoff. The aircraft took off from runway 01 at 13:31 UTC (23:31 LT, July 18). The flight crew circled and landed back on runway 01 at 14:33 UTC (00:33, July 19).
7 News Brisbane reported that the aircraft took off with several pitot tubes still covered. A photo has surfaced online, purported to be of the A330 after landing, showing covers on the captain's and standby pitot tubes.
Airlines cover pitot tubes during turnaround at Brisbane Airport to prevent obstruction by mud wasps. This measure was taken following an incident in November 2013 when an Etihad Airbus A330 returned to Brisbane Airport with airspeed indication anomalies. It appeared that the captain's pitot probe was almost totally obstructed by an insect nest, consistent with mud wasp residue, during the 2 hour and 3 minute period while the aircraft was in transit on the ground at Brisbane.