Aviation safety issues and actions

Assigning approaches to foreign operators

Issue number: AO-2012-120-SI-01
Who it affects: All foreign operators of super or heavy jet aircraft conducting a visual approach to runway 34 at Melbourne via the SHEED waypoint
Issue owner: Airservices Australia
Transport function: Aviation: Airspace management
Background: Investigation Report AO-2012-120
Issue release date: 01 September 2015
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB is satisfied that the action taken by Airservices Australia to amend the related provision in the Manual of Air Traffic Services in November 2015 has eliminated the risk associated with the safety issue. This action also concludes the action by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to address this issue with Airservices Australia.

Safety issue description

Unlike other Australian standard arrival routes that included a visual segment, the visual approach to runway 34 at Melbourne via the SHEED waypoint could be issued to super or heavy jet aircraft operated by foreign operators, despite there being more occurrences involving the SHEED waypoint than other comparable approaches.

Proactive Action

Action number: AO-2012-120-NSA-050
Action organisation: Airservices Australia
Date: 01 September 2015
Action status: Closed

In response to this safety issue, Airservices Australia (Airservices) advised of the following proactive safety action:

Airservices agrees with the safety issue identified in the report. Airservices has commenced action to remove the MATS [Manual of Air Traffic Services] provision which allows the use of SHEED visual segment for all International Heavy and Super Heavy aircraft, rather than just Australian and New Zealand operators as detailed in MOS [Manual of Standards] Part 172. The related operational documentation will be reviewed and amended accordingly in line with our standard safety change management process.

Airservices will aim to introduce the permanent change to the November 2015 MATS [Manual of Air Traffic Services] update and will issue a temporary local instruction in the interim. Airservices will advise the ATSB when the action has been completed.

Proactive Action

Action number: AO-2012-120-NSA-052
Action organisation: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Date: 01 September 2015
Action status: Closed

In consideration of this safety issue, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) advised of the following action:

Being aware that Part 173 Manual of Standards (MOS) paragraph (g) allows a STAR [standard arrival route] to terminate in a visual approach only for domestic flights, CASA investigated the circumstances behind the Manual of Air Traffic Services (MATS) entry allowing both domestic and international aircraft to fly the visual segment of the STAR via SHEED at Melbourne. It was found that the MATS entry was originally enabled under the terms of a letter from CASA to Airservices dated 27 July 2001 (CASA Ref C01/23850). However, Part 173 MOS and Part 172 MOS – the latter having a standard restricting the assignment of visual approaches to certain heavy jet operators – came into effect on 1 May 2003. These MOS documents superseded all previous CASA standards and interpretation advice, including correspondence such as the letter mentioned. Accordingly, it appears the underpinning justification for the MATS entry is no longer valid. CASA intends to address this issue with Airservices, taking account of any safety argument to allow the visual termination procedures to remain in place.

Additional correspondence

Response date: 09 December 2015
Response from: Airservices Australia
Action status: Closed
Response text:

Airservices provided further advice of its proactive safety action as follows:

The relevant changes for MATS [Manual of Air Traffic Standards] has now undergone standard safety change management processes and has been approved by the Change Implementation Group (CIG). The removal of the provision will be effective in MATS Version 35 in March 2016.

The local procedures have already been updated to remove the use of SHEED visual segment for International Heavy/Super aircraft. Refer to the published Melbourne Basin Flow and Class G Procedures LoA 3136 (section 1.10) that states:

STAR clearance RWY 34 via BADGR, BOYSE, LIZZI or WAREN

Issue the instrument STAR for the following flights:

  • International Heavy or Super
  • Qantas A388 and B744
  • Virgin B777.

These aircraft do not require coordination with MFL. Any request for a VICTOR STAR from an Australian or New Zealand operator listed above must be coordinated with MFL for approval. For other aircraft that require an instrument approach, issue the instrument STAR and coordinate with MFL. Set RWY 34V in the runway field when aircraft are inbound via VICTOR STAR.

Response date: 19 January 2016
Response from: Airservices Australia
Response text:

Airservices advised the ATSB that:

Following standard safety change management processes, the related MATS provision was removed in November 2015. A copy of the relevant section in the MATS [Section 9.2.8]  is attached for the ATSB’s consideration.

Last update 16 February 2016