Recently, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) laid out a series of punishments directed towards Bangkok-based Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Orient Thai for operating a flight into Nanning Wuxu airport with a wheel missing from the nose landing gear.
The incident occurred on the 11th of April 2016, and involved a Boeing 737-300 registered as HS-BRI. The aircraft was operating flight OX616 from Phuket International Airport (HKT) in Thailand to Nanning Wuxu International Airport (NNG) in the Guangxi province of China. The flight was uneventful and unaffected by the issue, and the missing gear was noticed only after the flight had landed and taxied to the gate. It’s still unknown how the incident occurred. The only possible explanations would be that 1.) the missing wheel was not discovered during pre-flight inspections before the aircraft left Phuket, 2.) the missing wheel was discovered but the aircraft was allowed to fly without it, or 3.) the wheel fell off the aircraft after it had left the gate at Phuket and before it had arrived at Nanning.
In response to the incident, the CAAC forced the carrier to slash five of its destinations in China, reduced the number of aircraft it is allowed to fly into China, and imposed a 29,000 yuan (4460 USD) fine on the carrier. This is not the first time that Orient Thai has been in trouble for safety issues. The airline currently has a Boeing 747-400 without engines stuck in Hong Kong after it was grounded due to safety issues. Hopefully this will be the last incident for Orient Thai.