The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATBS) announced that it is investigating a procedural error that almost caused a runway excursion involving a Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 (registered as VH-IWQ) after it crossed paths with a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 (registered as 9V-SKQ).
The incident happened on November 14, 2022, at Sydney Airport (SYD), when the Boeing 737 was taxiing following its recent arrival at the airport, while the Airbus A380 was about to depart for its destination, Singapore Changi Airport (SIN).
The ATSB indicated that the potential runway excursion was due to an Air Traffic Control (ATC) error and that it will continue investigating the event further.
The problem arose when the 737, which had just landed on runway 25, received landing clearance from ATC and information about the double-decker aircraft, which was lined-up and holding position on the threshold of runway 34L.
Virgin Australia’s aircraft landed from its short hop from Melbourne Airport (MEL).
“The Boeing 737 crew were reported to have seen the Airbus A380 still on its take-off roll and queried the runway crossing clearance with the controller, who then issued an instruction to hold short of the runway,” noted the safety bureau. According to the ATSB, the Singapore Airlines’ (SIA1) (SINGY) aircraft was on its initial climb, passing the taxiway intersection as the Virgin Australia jet stood about 300 meters from the holding point of the runway from which the A380 took off.
“As part of the investigation, the ATSB will interview involved parties, examine recorded data, review relevant procedures and collect other evidence as required,” the authorities continued, noting that if a critical safety issue will be found throughout the investigation process, all relevant parties will be notified to ensure that appropriate safety action would be taken.
The ATSB designated the event as a “Serious Incident”.
Both the Airbus A380 and Boeing 737 continued operating flights as normal following the event.