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On 13 October 2011, a Jetstar Airways Airbus Industrie A320-232 aircraft, registered VH-VGO (VGO), departed Christchurch, New Zealand on a scheduled passenger service to Brisbane, Queensland.

While VGO was on descent into Brisbane Airport, the air traffic controller was coordinating diversions and clearances for multiple aircraft due to significant weather in the vicinity. At 5,000 ft, the air traffic controller issued an instruction for VGO to turn left immediately due to conflicting traffic. The crew complied with the instruction and entered an active thunderstorm cell.

The aircraft encountered heavy rain and the airspeed began to rapidly decrease. The autopilot disconnected and the pilot applied Takeoff/Go Around thrust. The captain informed air traffic control (ATC) that they needed a different heading of 090 degrees to fly clear of the weather, which was subsequently granted. The aircraft landed at Brisbane Airport, there were no reported injuries to crew or passengers, and no damage to the aircraft.

High workload can cause narrowing of attention and task fixation. This makes it difficult to continually assess the big picture and develop appropriate strategies. Effective workload management includes, for line controller and supervisors alike; forward planning and seeking/providing assistance when needed.

In this incident, deteriorating weather combined with high traffic volume limited the options available to the controller to ensure separation. As a result, the controller used phraseology which led the flight crew to believe that there was an imminent risk of collision and to their subsequent turn into hazardous weather.

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General details
Date: 13 October 2011 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1530 EST  
Location   (show map):19Km ESE Brisbane Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Airspace related - Other 
Release date: 24 May 2012 Occurrence class: Airspace 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Airbus Industrie 
Aircraft model: A320 
Aircraft registration: VH-VGO 
Serial number: 4356 
Operator: Jetstar 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Christchurch, NZ
Destination:Brisbane Qld
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Last update 01 March 2016