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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

Context

Safety analysis

Findings

Sources and submissions

Appendices

 
General details
Date: 10 August 2013 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 9:33 EST Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
Location   (show map):Melbourne Airport Occurrence type:Taxiing collision/near collision 
State: Victoria Occurrence class: Operational 
Release date: 18 August 2016 Occurrence category: Accident 
Report status: Final Highest injury level: None 
 
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 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.
 
 
 
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Last update 18 August 2016