More details are emerging of the incredibly close call at Perth Airport last Saturday, April 28, when two Qantas Boeing 737s almost collided.
According to an engineer who works at the airport, the Boeing 737 pilot of flight QF582, who aborted his take-off veered the plane to the left to avoid the other 737, QF567, that was taxiing towards the runway from the right.
“If he had gone to the right, he might have hit,” the engineer said.
Flt QF582 had reached 90 km/ hr when it aborted.
The near-miss, described as a “serious” incident by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, happened when an inbound flight from Sydney failed to stop at stop-bars and moved towards an active runway.
Warnings went off in the tower and air traffic controllers swiftly told both pilots to take action.
The braking was so sudden on the inbound aircraft some passengers were thrown forward and hit their heads on the seats in front.
It is highly likely that the piots of the inbound 737 were blinded by the sun as their 737 would have been pointed directly at it at 2.40pm when the incident occurred.
And the sun is also low in the sky at this time of year.
On Thursday a Qantas spokesman said the airline was reviewing the incident, which happened and was assisting the ATSB with its investigation.
According to the ATSB’s initial report, QF567 landed on runway 03 and was told to exit the runway at taxiway Juliet 2, then stop short of runway 06 — the runway QF582 was about to use for take-off.
The area where two Qantas 737s almost collided is one of two hot spots at Perth Airport for runway incursions.
The ATSB database says there have been 88 runway incursion incidents have occurred at Perth Airport over the past 10 years, with the bureau investigating five incidents.
Perth Airport and Airservices Australia have spent about A$50 million over the past three years to improve runway and landing safety systems.
According to a Perth Airport spokesman, this included improving existing runway controls with the latest safety technology, stop bars and paint.
“The identified (06/J2) junction is fully compliant with relevant Australian and international standards,” the spokesman said.
“The proof of the value of Perth Airport’s (and Airservices Australia) investments is that the system worked as it was intended to in this situation, allowing the control tower to take swift action.”