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On 3 March 2011, a Tiger Airways operated Airbus Industrie A320-232, registered VH-VNG (VNG) and a Pilatus Aircraft Ltd PC-12/45, registered VH-FMP (FMP), were on approach to Alice Springs Airport, Northern Territory. Both aircraft were operating under instrument flight rules (IFR).

The Alice Springs tower was closed, giving the pilots responsibility for organising their own separation. Both flight crews provided a number of updated estimates for their arrival into Alice Springs during the approach. The pilots of VNG estimated their position to be established on finals at time 11 (1941 CST) and FMP estimated their position established on the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the same time. The conflict between the estimates was not initially recognised by either crew.

As both aircraft approached the initial approach fix, the potential conflict was realised and separation was organised. During the separation manoeuvring, the pilot of FMP turned towards VNG and a Traffic Collision Avoidance System Resolution Advisory warning was activated. The pilots of VNG conducted a missed approach and FMP continued the turn behind VNG.

Tiger Airways have conducted a risk assessment on operating into non-towered aerodromes. As a result of that assessment, they have rescheduled all Alice Springs flights so that they operate within active tower hours. They have also made a policy decision that flights will not be scheduled into CTAF aerodromes outside of tower hours for all future schedule developments.

Download Final Report - Bulletin
[ Download PDF: 5.43MB]
General details
Date: 03 March 2011 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1848 CST  
Location   (show map):near Alice Springs Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Northern Territory Occurrence type: Separation issue 
Release date: 12 December 2011 Occurrence class: Airspace 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Airbus Industrie 
Aircraft model: A320 
Aircraft registration: VH-VNG 
Serial number: 3674 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Melbourne Vic.
Destination:Alice Springs, NT
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Pilatus Aircraft Ltd 
Aircraft model: PC-12 
Aircraft registration: VH-FMP 
Serial number: 122 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Tennant Creek, NT
Destination:Alice Springs, NT
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Last update 01 March 2016