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On 31 January 2011, an Airbus A320-232 aircraft, registered VH-VQN (VQN), was taxiing for runway 29 at Darwin Airport, Northern Territory on a scheduled passenger service to Sydney, New South Wales.

The crew required a clearance to cross runway 11/29 in order to access the main taxiway for runway 29. On reaching the runway holding point, the crew received a clearance from air traffic control to cross the runway.  Prior to crossing, the crew checked the runway and approach paths for traffic. The pilot in command (PIC) stated that they were clear to the left, but the copilot noted that there was an aircraft lined up and stopped on runway 11. Soon after, the copilot observed the aircraft commence its take-off roll. He advised the PIC, who immediately stopped the aircraft. VQN had taxied past the holding point, but was short of the runway, resulting in a runway incursion.

Shortly after, they observed a Cessna 404 aircraft, registered VH-UOP (UOP), on a scheduled passenger service from Darwin to Snake Bay, Northern Territory take off on runway 11. A breakdown of runway separation occurred.

Air traffic control had provided the instruction for VQN to cross the runway based on the expectation that UOP would have commenced the takeoff soon after receiving a take-off clearance.

Runway incursions are recognised as an ongoing safety concern for the aviation industry and have been cited in numerous accidents world-wide. This incident emphasises the need for controllers to remain vigilant in monitoring and scanning the runway and highlights the significance of pilots conducting a thorough visual inspection of the runway and approach paths prior to entering or crossing any runway, even if a clearance from air traffic control has been provided.

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General details
Date: 31 January 2011 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0757 CST  
Location   (show map):Darwin Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Northern Territory Occurrence type: Loss of separation 
Release date: 12 December 2011 Occurrence class: Airspace 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
 
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 404 
Aircraft registration: VH-UOP 
Serial number: 4040636 
Type of operation: Air Transport Low Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Darwin, NT
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Airbus Industrie 
Aircraft model: A320 
Aircraft registration: VH-VQN 
Serial number: 2600 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Darwin, NT
Destination:Sydney, NSW
 
 
 
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Last update 01 March 2016