ATSB investigating loss of separation between Jetstar A320 and Malaysia AirAsia X A330 near Gold Coast Airport

ATSB logo. (ATSB)

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has confirmed it is investigating the circumstances where a Jetstar Airbus A320 and Malaysia AirAsia X A330 managed to fly too close to each other near Gold Coast Airport.

The incident, which took place about six kilometres north of Gold Coast Airport on July 21, involved an inbound Jetstar A320, VH-VFO, from Melbourne (Avalon) and an AirAsia X A330-300, 9M-XXS, departing for Auckland.

The ATSB said in a short message on its website said the flightpaths of the two aircraft led to a loss of separation, and both aircraft received a traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) alert. As a result, the Jetstar A320 conducted a climb to increase separation.

“While these aircraft came closer than normal separation standards there was no risk of collision as the systems and the aircraft crews manoeuvred to avoid any further conflict,” the ATSB statement said.

“At this stage the details of the occurrence are yet to be verified and are limited to the notifications provided by Airservices Australia, Jetstar and Air Asia X.

“As part of this investigation, the ATSB will obtain air traffic control radar and audio information, interview the involved air traffic controllers and flight crews, and gather additional information.”

The ATSB said it would publish an update on the matter within the next few weeks, while the investigation was expected to be completed by June 2017.

Jetstar said in a statement on its website the pilots of flight JQ630 from Melbourne (Avalon) to the Gold Coast had taken “corrective action to restore the safe distance between the two aircraft”, adding that the flight landed without further incident.

“Our crew did a fantastic job and responded to the situation as they are trained to do. At all times they followed the instructions of air traffic control,” Jetstar said.

The Jetstar A320 was configured with 180 seats, while Malaysia AirAsia X’s A330s have 377 seats.

Comments

  1. Ron says

    “As part of this investigation, the ATSB will obtain air traffic control radar and audio information, interview the involved air traffic controllers and flight crews, and gather additional information.”

    And that will take them till June next year? I could do that in a week, & I’m not even one of the 3 people that work for the ATSB.

    Sorry, I admit I’m being sarcastic, but the Jetstar crew, to their credit, had just seconds to resolve this, & the ATSB take a year to write it up. Amazing.

  2. Craigy says

    The investigation will involve more than just listening to audio and watching radar replays. There will be consideration of causal factors etc which takes time plus agreeing recommendations for changes to say training, procedures etc. Ron your view is just too simplistic

  3. Ben says

    @Ron – do yourself a favour and read some ASTB reports. They really are brilliant in that they don’t just talk about what happened, they (most of the time) talk in depth about the why. I haven’t come across another country’s reports that match ours.

  4. says

    Ben is correct – ATSB reports are world class meticulous analyses of incidents. This one in particular is very sensitive as 152 metres of separation is quite a loss of separation and it is obvious that one or both aircraft should not have been where they were, or ATC had given incorrect instructions. Given the ramifications of any of those findings, the factual investigation must be thorough and all plausible alternatives eliminated before any conclusion is reached,

  5. Bribie Bill says

    I totally agree with Ron. ATSB has access to the crews concerned, the air traffic controllers concerned, the QA recorders of both aircraft, both flight data recorders, both cockpit voice recorders, the Coolangatta tower tape recording and possibly the radar records from Brisbane – if the aircraft were high enough. Surely it doesn’t take 12 months to find out how a breakdown in separation occurred.

  6. Pete says

    12 months is still much faster than waiting for a report about incidents involving maritime vessels. Most of the crew have died of old age by the time they publish those.

  7. That Ron guy... says

    I freely admitted that my comment was sarcasm. Sarcasm is ignorant & simplistic by nature. And as I say to my kids, don’t take anything I say seriously. Cheers & goodwill to all.