Aviation safety investigations & reports

Pre-flight preparation event involving Airbus A320, VH-VNC, Cairns Airport, Qld, on 21 January 2017

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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On 21 January 2017, the crew of an Airbus A320 aircraft, registered VH-VNC (VNC), prepared to conduct Tigerair flight 491 from Cairns to Brisbane, Queensland. The flight crew consisted of a training captain and a first officer under supervision.

At about 1511 Eastern Standard Time (EST), the surface movement controller (SMC) cleared the flight crew of VNC to taxi to holding point B5, which was the clearance they had expected. The crew had briefed each other on that taxi route.

VNC then taxied behind another aircraft along taxiway B, but as that aircraft entered the runway from taxiway B4, the first officer of VNC inadvertently also taxied to holding point B4. At about 1515, the captain of VNC advised the aerodrome controller (ADC) that they were ready for take-off. The ADC cleared VNC to line up on the runway and, as the first officer taxied the aircraft onto the runway, the flight crew completed the pre-take-off checks.

About 1 minute later, the ADC cleared VNC for take-off. Immediately after the captain read back the take-off clearance, the controller advised the crew that they were lined up at the B4 (not B5) intersection. The controller cancelled the take-off clearance and subsequently cleared them to turn around and exit the runway using B4 and taxi to B5. The aircraft subsequently took off from the B5 intersection and the flight continued without incident.

There was a 403 m difference in available runway length, between the B4 and B5 taxiway intersections.

This incident highlights the importance of confirming that an aircraft is lined up for take-off at the correct intersection, or position on the runway, as well as the correct runway.

Part of Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 60

Download final report
[Download  PDF: 209KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 311KB]

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General details
Date: 21 January 2017   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 15:16 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Cairns Airport    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Navigation - Other  
Release date: 24 May 2017   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus  
Aircraft model A320-232  
Aircraft registration VH-VNC  
Serial number 3275  
Operator Tiger Airways Aust.  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Cairns, Qld  
Destination Brisbane, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018