Aviation safety investigations & reports

Boeing Co 747-338, VH-EBW

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


On 9 April 2005 at about 0815 universal coordinated time, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) of New Zealand notified the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) of an air safety occurrence involving an Australian-registered and operated aircraft, which occurred earlier that evening near Auckland International Airport. The ATSB appointed an accredited representative to participate in the investigation into the occurrence, in accordance with clause 5.18 1 of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. To protect the information supplied by TAIC to the ATSB and investigative work undertaken to assist TAIC, the ATSB initiated an investigation under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003. The report presented below was prepared principally from information supplied to the ATSB.


The occurrence involved a Boeing Company B747-338 (747) aircraft, registered VH-EBW, with a crew of 16 and 346 passengers, which was being operated on a scheduled passenger service between Sydney, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand. The copilot was the handling pilot for the flight.

As the 747 was on the landing approach to runway 23 right (23R) at Auckland, the Auckland Tower and Terminal controllers observed an unidentified aircraft tracking towards the approach path of the 747. The controllers instructed the crew of the 747 to discontinue the approach, and turn the aircraft right towards the central city area, and to climb to 3000 ft. The aircraft subsequently entered instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) at an altitude of 3,000 ft above mean seal level (AMSL). The flight crew reported that shortly after, and while still in IMC, they received a TERRAIN, PULL-UP warning from the aircrafts enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS). The pilot in command took control of the aircraft and commenced an immediate climb in accordance with the operators 747 procedures. The crew advised air traffic control that they had received a GPWS terrain warning, and that they were climbing the aircraft to 5,000 ft AMSL.

At the same time, a New Zealand-registered 747 was making an instrument approach to runway 23R, and had been cleared to descend to an altitude of 4,000 ft AMSL. As the Australian-registered 747 was climbing to 5,000 ft AMSL, it passed about 1.9 NM behind the New Zealand-registered 747, which was descending through 4,500 ft AMSL. The required separation standard was 3 NM laterally or 1,000 ft vertically. There was an infringement of the required separation standard. No avoiding action was taken, or was required to be taken, by either crew.

The TAIC is the independent New Zealand government entity responsible for no blame safety investigation of accidents and incidents in New Zealand. The Australian accredited representatives role in the investigation has been to provide the TAIC with information about the aircraft and its operation, recorded flight data recovered from the aircraft flight data recorders, crew details, and records of discussions taken during separate interviews conducted with the pilot in command and the copilot of the Australian-registered 747. The TAIC expects to complete the investigation into this occurrence by October 2005, and will publish the final report on its website at www.taic.org.nz.

1 Clause 5.18 - The State of Registry, the State of the Operator, the State of Design and the State of Manufacture shall be entitled to appoint an accredited representative to participate in the investigation.

General details
Date: 09 April 2005   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0507 hours UTC    
Location   (show map): Auckland, Aero. New Zealand    
State: International   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 24 June 2005   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 747  
Aircraft registration VH-EBW  
Serial number 23408  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Destination Auckland, NZ  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command ATPL 11908.0 14546
Co-Pilot/1st Officer ATPL 1110.0 7598
Last update 16 February 2016