Air Asia mishap: Is this Malaysia? No, this is Melbourne

A PLANE-load of travellers ended up landing more than 6000km away from their destination after a captain of an AirAsia X flight typed in the wrong figures ahead of take-off.

This is nub of findings by the Air Transport Safety Bureau, released on Wednesday, which found a single wrong digit caused the navigation system to think the plane was in South Africa instead of Sydney.

The flight took off from Sydney Airport at lunchtime on March 10, 2015, bound for Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

But soon after takeoff, the Airbus A330 was struck by technical issues.

Navigation systems including autopilot were now gone and the plane was unable to return to Sydney because low clouds meant the flight crew could not see the runway.

Two hours later the flight landed in Melbourne after it was guided by air traffic controllers relying on the plane's radar position.

The ATSB found that the captain should have put his longitude into the navigational system as 01519.8 east. 

Instead he entered 15109.9 east.

The navigational system then considered the plane to be 11,000km away from its actual location.

The first officer on the flight did not notice the error, and the flight management system on the plane had not been upgraded, which meant it did not immediately overrule the error.

Checks of the cockpit's instrument panels was not done properly, which meant the crew did not detect the error either.

When the plane took off, the error meant the navigation system could not work out where the plane was, which then gave false alarms.

The ATSB has now dispatched a training bulletin for flight crews to show how their data and reference systems should be used.

All pilots have now been informed of the findings.

Read the ATSB's full report here