Aviation occurrence briefs

Runway incursion involving a Bombardier DHC-8 and a Boeing 737, Brisbane, Qld, on 9 April 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


What happened

On 9 April 2018, while on taxi for departure at Brisbane Airport, Qld, Air Traffic Control (ATC) instructed the crew of a Bombardier DHC-8 to hold short of runway 01. After a Boeing 737 landed, the DHC-8 entered and lined up on the runway in preparation for departure, without a clearance, whilst another Boeing 737 was on short final.

ATC provided the 737 on final approach a clearance to land at around 500 ft. ATC then issued a conditional clearance for the DHC-8 to line up behind the 737 on short final. The DHC-8 crew informed the tower by radio that they were already occupying runway 01 and were ready for departure.

ATC subsequently instructed the Boeing 737 on short final to conduct a go-around[1] from about 300 ft. Departure instructions were provided and the Boeing 737 was transferred to the approach frequency for another approach to land. A short time later, ATC provided the DHC-8 with a clearance for take-off.

Figure 1: Sequence of events relating to aircraft movements at Brisbane Airport

Figure 1: Sequence of events relating to aircraft movements at Brisbane Airport. Source: Background image Google Earth; annotated/modified by ATSB

Source: Background image Google Earth; annotated/modified by ATSB

Airservices Australia investigation

An occurrence review conducted by Operational Risk and Assurance, indicated that the runway incursion had not been detected by ATC and that the second Boeing 737 was cleared to land whilst the runway was occupied.

The occurrence review indicated that although the conflict had not been identified by ATC, that when recognised, the actions taken to recover the situation were appropriately managed.

Safety message

Maintaining situational awareness is imperative for both pilots and ATC in busy operational environments. Effective situational awareness is the timely and accurate perception of information pertaining to a situation, comprehension of that current situation and projection of what may occur in the future based on this information.

The risk of runway incursions and other separation events can be minimised through good communication. This incident highlights the importance of:

  • ATC and flight crews using correct phraseology
  • ATC and pilots challenging instructions which they have not heard or understood fully
  • pilots looking carefully for aircraft or other hazards before entering an active runway.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.



  1. To abandon the landing and make a fresh approach [Cambridge Aerospace Dictionary]
General details
Date: 09 April 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1610 EST    
Location   (show map): Brisbane Airport    
State: Queensland    
Release Date: 19 December 2018   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc  
Aircraft model DHC-8  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Brisbane Airport, Qld  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 737  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Destination Brisbane Airport, Qld  
Last update 19 December 2018