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On 15 November 2006, a Boeing Company 737-838 (737) aircraft was established on a visual approach to runway 01 at Brisbane, Qld. The Brisbane aerodrome controller (ADC) had issued a clearance for a vehicle driver to enter runway 01 to locate and remove debris that had been blown onto the runway strip. The ADC subsequently issued the pilot of the 737 with a landing clearance while the vehicle was still on the runway, anticipating that the vehicle would vacate prior to the 737 landing.

The ADC reported that he may have momentarily forgotten about the vehicle. An unidentified transmission, believed to have been made by the pilot of another aircraft waiting for departure, warned the ADC of the vehicle's presence. The ADC instructed the vehicle driver to vacate the runway and reissued a landing clearance to the pilot of the 737. There was a runway incursion.

Recent thunderstorm activity had resulted in unidentified debris being blown onto the active runways, requiring multiple entries for airside operations vehicles into the runway strip to locate and remove the debris.

The thunderstorm activity led to a situation where the ADC experienced a busy and complex workload for an extended period of time without a rest break. The ADC did not initially issue instructions to the vehicle driver, or adequately monitor the situation, to ensure that the vehicle vacated the runway strip so that separation was assured with the 737.

The investigation found a common misconception about the classification and reporting of runway incursion events. The ICAO runway incursion definition of an 'incorrect presence' does not preclude a presence being incorrectly authorised by an air traffic control clearance.

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General details
Date: 15 November 2006 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1418 EST  
Location   (show map):Brisbane Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Loss of separation 
Release date: 31 January 2008 Occurrence class: Airspace 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: The Boeing Company 
Aircraft model: 737 
Aircraft registration: VH-VYK 
Serial number: 34183 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Cairns QLD
Destination:Brisbane QLD
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
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Last update 18 April 2018