Interim report released: 5 June 2014
On the morning of 18 June 2013, a Boeing Company 737 (B737) aircraft, registered VH-YIR and operated by Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd was conducting a scheduled passenger service from Brisbane, Queensland to Adelaide, South Australia. On board were 6 crew members and 85 passengers.
On the same morning, another B737 aircraft, registered VH-VYK and operated by Qantas Airways Limited, was conducting a scheduled passenger service from Sydney, New South Wales, to Adelaide. On board were 6 crew and 146 passengers.
Due to unforecast weather in Adelaide, both aircraft diverted to an alternate airport at Mildura, Victoria. This airport was also affected by unforecast fog and low cloud at the time of their arrival.
As a result of its developing understanding of the occurrence, the ATSB has commenced the following safety action:
Safety forum regarding the provision of operational information
The ATSB is planning to convene a safety forum in respect of the provision of operational information to the flight crews in this occurrence, and more generally. This forum is planned to include representatives from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Airservices Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology, the operators of VH-YIR and VH-VYK, and other relevant parties.
Reliability of aviation weather forecasts
As a result of this and other occurrences involving observed but not forecast weather, the ATSB has commenced research investigation AR-2013-200 Reliability of aviation weather forecasts. This investigation will analyse Bureau of Meteorology data across Australian airports, with a focus on those supporting regular public transport operations, and is subject to the availability of long-term data holdings of aviation forecasts and observations.
The investigation is continuing and will:
- examine the accuracy of aviation meteorological products in Australia
- examine the procedures used to provide information to flight crews from air traffic services and management of changes to those procedures
- examine the provision by the operators of information to the respective flight crews
- examine the relevant recorded data
- review the distribution, dissemination and sharing of operational information to the aviation industry as stipulated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and enacted by Airservices Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology.
The information contained in this Interim report is released in accordance with section 25 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and is derived from the ongoing investigation of the occurrence. Readers are cautioned that new evidence will become available as the investigation progresses that will enhance the ATSB's understanding of the accident as outlined in this Interim report. As such, no analysis or findings are included in this report.