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On 25 January 2017, a Jetstar Airways Airbus A320-232, registered VH-VGJ (VGJ), taxied for a scheduled passenger transport flight from Newcastle (Williamtown) Airport, New South Wales, to Brisbane Airport, Queensland.

The aircraft parked at bay 4 at the Newcastle Airport terminal for passenger disembarkation and boarding. At about 1836, the crew received a clearance from the surface movement controller to pushback, which placed VGJ to the right rear quarter of an aircraft parked on bay 5. The aircraft dispatcher walked beside the aircraft and was connected to the nose of VGJ by a headset for communications with the flight crew. At about 1838, the crew of the aircraft on bay 5 requested a clearance to taxi for departure. At this stage, the crew on board VGJ interrupted their ‘after start flows’ to monitor the other aircraft, which they believed posed a collision risk.

At about 1840, the crew on board VGJ requested and received a clearance to taxi for departure. The crew started to taxi VGJ with the aircraft dispatcher still connected to the aircraft. The dispatcher was waiting for their clearance from the crew to disconnect. When the dispatcher heard the engine noise increase, they immediately disconnected their headset from the aircraft and ran clear to the left of the aircraft towards the terminal with their headset and the nose wheel steering pin. There were no injuries and no damage.

Following this serious incident the captain reported that their most important lesson was distraction management. They considered either slowing down the ‘after start flows’ or re-starting the ‘flows’ as the most practical risk mitigation strategies.

Part of Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 60

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General details
Date: 25 January 2017 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 18:40 ESuT  
Location   (show map):Newcastle (Williamtown) Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Taxiing collision/near collision 
Release date: 24 May 2017 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Airbus 
Aircraft model: A320-232 
Aircraft registration: VH-VGJ 
Serial number: 4460 
Operator: Jetstar Airways 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Sector: Jet 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Williamtown, NSW
Destination:Brisbane, Qld
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Last update 14 November 2018