Aviation safety investigations & reports

Failure to Comply - 37km E Sydney Airport, Boeing Co 777-300, A6-EBG

Investigation number:
200505623
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Summary

On 6 November 2005 at 1800 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, the flight crew of a Boeing Company B777-300 aircraft, registered A6-EBG, did not comply with an altitude restriction at WHALE (a waypoint located approximately 37 km east of Sydney Airport) while on the MARLN 5 standard terminal arrival route (STAR) to Sydney Airport, NSW. This incident was one of three incidents reported on the same day for the operator. An examination of the ATSB database found 20 incidents of non compliance with air traffic control instructions or procedures by the operator over the six month period to December 2005. Further analysis showed a recurrence of two events in particular. Those events were:

  • the non-compliance with STAR altitude restrictions
  • the non-compliance with operating restrictions for taxiway Alpha 4 at Sydney Airport.

Following notification of the non compliance issues by the ATSB, the operator amended the relevant Route Manual Supplement (RMS) for Sydney Airport to include more comprehensive information on taxiway restrictions. Also an operational notice was sent to flight crew advising them:

  • to take precautions when clearing flight plan discontinuities from the flight management system (FMS) when on STAR or standard instrument departures (SID) procedures
  • to resolve any ambiguity that may exist with Air Traffic Control (ATC) regarding clearances and operating restrictions.

The air traffic service (ATS) provider and the operator have also advised that air safety incident reports from ATS staff will be forwarded to the operator for information. The ATS service provider in conjunction with the operator is also investigating possible STAR procedure changes and the provision of additional taxi instruction to pilots at Sydney Airport.

Reported Information

The report presented below was prepared principally from information supplied to the Bureau. The initial report was amended following receipt of further information.

On 6 November 2005 at 1800 Eastern Daylight-saving Time1, the flight crew of a Boeing Company B777-300 aircraft, registered A6-EBG, did not comply with an altitude restriction at WHALE (a navigation waypoint located approximately 37 km east of Sydney Airport) while on the MARLN 5 standard terminal arrival route (STAR) to Sydney Airport, NSW. This incident was one of three incidents reported on the same day for the operator. An examination of the ATSB database found 20 incidents of non compliance with air traffic control instructions or procedures by the operator over the six month period to December 2005. Further analysis showed a recurrence of two events in particular.

Those events were:

  • the non-compliance with STAR altitude restrictions
  • the non-compliance with operating restrictions for taxiway Alpha 4 at Sydney Airport.

Taxiway restrictions for Alpha 4 at Sydney Airport are not shown in the flight documents used by the operator's flight crew. The restrictions are promulgated in section 17.6 of the Sydney Airport Operations Manual (SAOM). The SAOM is a voluminous document and is made available to client airlines on-line and a hard copy is provided by Sydney Airports Corporation to the operator's local handling agent.

Following notification of the non compliance issues by the ATSB, the operator amended the relevant Route Manual Supplement (RMS) for Sydney Airport to include more comprehensive information on taxiway restrictions. Also an operational notice was sent to flight crew advising them:

to take precautions when clearing flight plan discontinuities from the flight management system (FMS) when on STAR or standard instrument departures (SID) procedures to resolve any ambiguity that may exist with Air Traffic Control (ATC) regarding clearances and operating restrictions.

While not a regulatory requirement, in the interests of future safety, the air traffic service (ATS) provider and the operator have also advised that air safety incident reports from ATS staff will be routinely forwarded in a timely manner to the operator for information and any necessary action. The ATS service provider in conjunction with the operator is also investigating possible STAR procedure changes and the provision of additional taxi instruction to pilots at Sydney Airport


  1. The 24-hour clock is used in this report to describe the local time of day. Eastern Daylight- savings Time is Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) + 11hours.
General details
Date: 06 November 2005   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0700 UTC    
Location   (show map): 37km E Sydney    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Operational non-compliance  
Release date: 29 June 2006   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 777  
Aircraft registration A6-EBG  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Auckland, NZ  
Destination Sydney, NSW  
Last update 16 February 2016