How Two Qantas 737s Narrowly Avoided a Collision in Perth

May 4, 2018

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It’s been quite the season for commercial aviation mishaps and near-misses. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating a serious incident from April 28, when two Qantas Boeing 737s nearly collided on a runway at Perth International Airport (PER).

Qantas Flight 567 had just landed on Perth’s runway 03 from Sydney around 2:40 pm local time, crossing paths with Qantas Flight 582 on the opposite route, departing for Sydney from Perth. According to the initial ATSB report, Flight 567 “was required to hold short of runway 06. The aircraft passed the holding point, and stopped just past the holding point.”

The flight crews were able to avoid disaster after Flight 582 aborted its take-off, after a frantic warning from air traffic controllers to “‘Stop immediately, stop immediately, runway incursion ahead,” according to voice recordings investigated by the ATSB. One second after the warning to Flight 582, controllers notified Flight 567 that “You have crossed a stop bar and runway incursion — hold position.” The pilot of Flight 567 braked hard enough to cause some passengers to hit their heads against the seats in front of them, causing bruises, according to passenger Kylie Jenkins.

Graphic by The West.

According to the ATSB, the section of runway where the near-collision occurred is a known hot-spot for incursions, which occur when unauthorized aircraft, vehicles or people cross a runway. The point that QF567 overshot is marked with a runway stop bar, which is designed to prevent aircraft and vehicles from inadvertently entering a runway without clearance from the air traffic control tower. 

The ATSB will interview the flight crews as well as the staff on duty in the Perth control tower, as well as examining all recorded data. Qantas has offered full cooperation throughout the process, and is also conducting its own investigation. The investigation process is expected to take up to a year to complete.

TPG has reached out to Qantas for comment, but had received no response as of the time of this post.

Just two days ago, the US Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released updates from its ongoing investigation of similar incidents at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). While not a runway incursion, a near-disaster occurred at SFO last July, when an incoming Air Canada A320 nearly landed on top of four aircraft waiting to take off.

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.

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