Investigation number
AO-2022-051
Occurrence date
Location
40 km south of Cairns Airport
State
Queensland
Report status
Pending
Investigation level
Short
Investigation type
Occurrence Investigation
Investigation phase
Evidence collection
Investigation status
Active
Aviation occurrence type
Flight below minimum altitude
Occurrence category
Incident
Highest injury level
None
Anticipated completion

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating two separate flight below minimum altitude occurrences 40 km south of Cairns Airport, Queensland. The first involved a Virgin Australia Boeing 737, registered VH-VUT, on 24 October, and the other a Qantas Boeing 737, registered VH-VZA, on 26 October 2022.

In both occurrences, the aircraft were following a standard arrival route (STAR), when they were inadvertently descended below the minimum safe altitude. On each occasion, air traffic control identified the aircraft's descent and alerted their flight crew. The flights in both cases were then completed without further incident.

As part of the investigation, ATSB investigators will interview the flight crews of the aircraft involved, other involved persons, examine flight and weather data, operator procedures and collect other relevant evidence for each occurrence.

A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation. Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties, so that appropriate safety action can be taken.

Aircraft Details
Departure point
Brisbane Airport, Queensland
Destination
Cairns Airport, Queensland
Model
737-8FE
Serial number
36608
Sector
Jet
Registration
VH-VUT
Operation type
Air Transport High Capacity
Damage
Nil
Manufacturer
The Boeing Company
Aircraft Operator
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA AIRLINES PTY LTD
Aircraft Details
Departure point
Brisbane Airport, Queensland
Destination
Cairns Airport, Queensland
Model
737-838
Serial number
34195
Sector
Jet
Registration
VH-VZA
Operation type
Air Transport High Capacity
Damage
Nil
Manufacturer
The Boeing Company
Aircraft Operator
QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED