Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision during pushback between Boeing B737-8FE, VH-YID and Airbus A320-232, VH-VGR Melbourne Airport, Victoria, on 10 August 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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What happened

On 10 August 2013, an Airbus A320-232, registered VH-VGR (VGR) and operated by Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd was holding short of gate D2 at Melbourne Airport, Victoria. At the same time, a Boeing B737-800, registered VH-YID (YID) and operated by Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd. (Virgin) was approved by air traffic control for a pushback from bay E1 once VGR was on the gate at bay D2. The dispatcher for YID assessed VGR was on the gate and commenced the pushback. During the pushback, the left wingtip of YID collided with the tail cone of VGR, damaging both aircraft. There were no injuries.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the dispatcher for YID could not visually confirm the position of VGR relative to gate D2 and assessed that because the aircraft hadn’t moved, it was on the gate. The pushback ground staff followed the normal practice for a pushback from bay E1. However, this practice did not allow for visual monitoring of the left side of the aircraft, such as by using a wing walker. This meant it was not possible for the dispatcher to identify the collision risk in time to prevent the collision.

What's been done as a result

Virgin advised that following this occurrence, they issued a local instruction to ground staff, mandating the use of wing walkers from certain bays at Melbourne Airport, including bay E1.

Safety message

This occurrence highlights the importance of ensuring that adequate clearance exists prior to commencing pushback. This includes using sufficient personnel to ensure visibility of each side of the aircraft at all times.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.35MB]

The occurrence


Safety analysis


Sources and submissions


General details
Date: 10 August 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 9:33 EST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Melbourne Airport    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Taxiing collision/near collision  
Release date: 18 August 2016   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus  
Aircraft model A320  
Aircraft registration VH-VGR  
Serial number 4257  
Operator Jetstar Airways  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Melbourne, Vic.  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 737  
Aircraft registration VH-YID  
Serial number 38709  
Operator Virgin Australia  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Melbourne, Vic.  
Last update 14 November 2018