AAIB Report: British Airways flight encounters turbulence over Bay of Bengal

A British Airways B777 in flight.
N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Air Accidents Investigation Board (AAIB) has released details of its investigation of an incident involving a British Airways Boeing 777 encounter with severe turbulence over the Bay of Bengal on a scheduled long-haul service from Singapore to London, on 15 June 2023.

The aircraft conducting the flight was a Boeing 777-336ER, registered G-STBL. AviationSource initially reported on the incident, which resulted in injuries to 5 crewmembers here.

Source: AAIB Report

Overview British Airways BA12 Singapore – London


A British Airways Boeing 777-336ER (G-STBL) on a long-haul flight from Singapore to London on June 15, 2023, encountered unexpected severe turbulence over the Bay of Bengal, resulting in injuries to five crew members.

Despite pre-flight awareness of potential turbulence in the region, the aircraft encountered a sudden and intense episode lasting approximately 12 seconds.

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While precautionary measures like illuminated seatbelt signs and radar monitoring were in place, the rapid onset and brevity of the event limited the opportunity for further avoidance maneuvers.

Two crew members sustained serious injuries, primarily a leg fracture, requiring hospitalization. Three others suffered minor injuries. Following medical consultation, the aircraft safely returned to Singapore, where emergency services awaited.

This incident, alongside another involving a British Airways aircraft encountering “moderate chop” near Beijing, highlights the limitations of current route weather forecasts in pinpointing specific turbulence zones.

While broad predictions of turbulence likelihood may be provided, the unpredictability of localized episodes poses a challenge for pilots.

AAIB Findings


The Air Accidents Investigation Board (AAIB) commended the crew’s prompt response and medical assistance initiation.

Their investigation emphasizes the importance of crew preparedness and vigilance in turbulence-prone areas.

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Furthermore, the AAIB recommends further study into both the limitations of turbulence forecasting and potential strategies for mitigating encounters with unpredictable turbulence.

The AAIB also suggests airlines review and update their procedures for turbulence avoidance and crew training in managing unexpected turbulence events.

Additionally, aviation authorities are encouraged to invest in research and development to enhance turbulence forecasting capabilities.

While existing safety measures helped manage the consequences of this event, it underscores the need for continued effort in predicting and mitigating unpredictable weather phenomena to ensure optimal aviation safety standards.

The full AAIB Report can be accessed here.

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To subscribe to our Emergencies, Accidents & Incidents Newsletter, CLICK HERE!

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The AAIB released its report into an incident involving a British Airways flight from Singapore to London which encountered severe turbulence over the Bay of Bengal.
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