Aviation safety issues and actions

Absence of air traffic control procedures and tools for runway changes at Melbourne Airport

Issue number: AO-2016-005-SI-01
Who it affects: Air traffic controllers at Melbourne and Essendon Airports
Issue owner: Airservices Australia
Transport function: Aviation: Airspace management
Background: Investigation Report AO-2016-005
Issue release date: 09 March 2017
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The action by Airservices Australia minimises the risk associated with the safety issue. 

Safety issue description

Airservices Australia did not provide procedures with associated local instructions to Melbourne air traffic controllers regarding how to coordinate runway changes at Melbourne Airport. Furthermore, an absence of system tools increased the risk of the controllers forgetting to coordinate those changes with the Essendon Aerodrome Controller.

Proactive Action

Action number: AO-2016-005-NSA-004
Action organisation: Airservices Australia
Date: 09 March 2017
Action status: Closed

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

  • A temporary local instruction was issued to Melbourne air traffic controllers that introduced a runway change coordination checklist. The checklist is intended to provide a recordable process for implementing and coordinating runway changes. This checklist has since been incorporated into the Melbourne and Canberra Terminal Control Unit local instructions.
  • A temporary local instruction was issued to Melbourne air traffic controllers introducing a runway configuration coordination prompt. This prompt requires the Melbourne Tower Coordinator to remove the text ‘COORDINATE WITH MPL [Melbourne Planner] AND EN [Essendon]’ when preparing the digital automatic terminal information service, thereby prompting the Melbourne Tower Coordinator to conduct the required coordination. In addition a pop‑up memory prompt is being developed that will amend this temporary procedure.
  • Any update to the Melbourne Airport automatic terminal information service is automatically displayed in the message queue in the Essendon Tower cabin. This system change is intended to increase Essendon air traffic controllers’ situation awareness and to provide them with early opportunities to detect breakdowns in communication between them and Melbourne Airport air traffic controllers.
Last update 09 March 2017