Cargo Door Opens On Royal Air Maroc Boeing 737 During Landing

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A Royal Air Maroc Boeing 737-800 has had its cargo door spring open during landing this week, raising many questions about maintenance and the possibility that the aircraft was robbed inflight.

Royal Air Maroc
Royal Air Maroc 737. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

What are the details?

A Royal Air Maroc Boeing 737-800, tail number CN-ROR, was en route on flight AT-555 from Casablanca (Morocco) to Lagos (Nigeria). Upon landing in the destination airport, the rear cargo door opened as if magic, as initially reported on The Aviation Herald.

The route of the Boeing 737. Photo: GC Maps

The aircraft continued to taxi off the runway as a maintenance car approached to ensure the situation was under control (and that nothing had fallen out of the cargo hold). No passengers were harmed, although as the door had so easily opened on its own it does raise some questions about the pressurization of the aircraft.

Upon inspection of the cargo hold, it was discovered that one passengers’ bag was missing. Fearing that it had come out somewhere over the dry expanse of Africa between the two cities, team members searched both airports. The bag was later to be revealed still back in Casablanca.

The aircraft in this story refueled and was on its way back to Casablanca approx an hour and a half later. The airline has been reached out to for comment but has not replied as of the time of publishing.

Was it a robbery?

One interesting take on this situation is that the aircraft was robbed in flight. The theory goes that someone either approached the aircraft during taxi at the airport and opened the cargo door (and somehow the cockpit was not notified) to rummage around and steal a particular passenger bag.

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This theory got traction when the passenger reported just their bag missing, plus the fact that the cargo door was not locked correctly, that perhaps someone had actually got away with it.

Royal Air Maroc
Perhaps someone opened the door during taxi. Photo: Simple Flying

As much as we like rumors here, we should mention the passenger was reunited with their bag later and this door malfunction is likely due to a fault in the sensor telling the cockpit that it was correctly locked. Some have said that a rough landing could open the door but I personally find it hard to believe that a landing so rough would cause doors to just open (without causing any other damage).

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Yesterday, Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority (FAAN) confirmed this with a statement saying,

“There was no attempted robbery or theft. The cargo door probably sprung open due to a rough landing. Security personnel escorted the aircraft, there was nobody near the aircraft. The missing piece of luggage had been left behind in Casablanca and was retrieved there.”

Who is Royal Air Maroc?

Royal Air Maroc is soon to be the next member of the Oneworld, giving the aircraft alliance access to Africa with a local carrier (instead of via the Middle East). The airline has 61 aircraft and flies to 98 destinations. It is a public company owned entirely by the government.

What do you think? What could have caused the door to open? Let us know in the comments.

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