Aviation safety investigations & reports

Runway Incursion, Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport, 20 October 2005

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 20 October 2005, a Boeing Company 777-2B5ER aircraft (777), registered HL-7530, was taking off from runway 34 left (34L) at Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport on a scheduled passenger flight to Seoul, South Korea. After the 777 commenced the take-off run, an aircraft tug, radio callsign Qantas Tug Red Golf, with a Boeing Company 747-400 freighter aircraft (747) in tow crossed the departure end of the same runway. There was a runway incursion.

The investigation found that the tug driver involved in the occurrence had 17 years experience in driving a tug at Sydney Airport. In that time he had not been involved in any other recorded incident. Despite his extensive experience and the ongoing training and checking regime that was in place by the tug operator and at Sydney Airport leading up to the occurrence, the driver of tug red golf thought that a clearance issued to the pilot of a taxiing aircraft was for the tug driver.

The driver believed he heard a clearance to cross runway 34 left from the surface movement controller east (SMC E). The driver acknowledged that clearance in accordance with published procedures but the SMC E remained unaware of the situation due to a radio overtransmission. In the absence of any response from the SMC E the driver continued to cross the runway. From that point on, there was limited time available to prevent the runway incursion.

In the absence of stop bar lights and advanced pilot/driver/controller alerting systems, enhanced training emphasising the importance of crew resource management support during towing operations and the importance of removing any doubt from information contained in clearances and instructions are important elements to reduce the risk of similar runway incursions.

Airservices Australia and the tug operator reviewed procedures and made a number of changes to prevent similar occurrences.

Download final report
[Download  PDF: 693KB]
General details
Date: 20 October 2005   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0847 EST    
Location   (show map): Sydney Airport    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Runway incursion  
Release date: 06 December 2006   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 777  
Aircraft registration HL7530  
Serial number 27945  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Departure time 0946  
Destination Inchon, South Korea  
Last update 16 February 2016