Following a near-miss involving two Qantas Boeing 737-800 aircraft at Sydney Airport (SYD), the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has opened an investigation.
The ATSB reports that the event happened on April 29, 2023, at 5:47 p.m. local time, when registered aircraft VH-VZW was flying from Queenstown to Brisbane and VH-VZW was flying back from Brisbane.
According to the ATSB’s preliminary report, both Qantas aircraft were using runway 16L.
After a preceding flight had left the runway, traffic control operators gave the Brisbane-bound flight clearance for take-off and there was a “close proximity event” with the Queenstown arrival on the approach.
“The controller reportedly instructed the flight crew of VH-VZW to conduct a missed approach and then vectored the aircraft onto a diverging track,” the ATSB said.
The ATSB will interview concerned individuals as part of the investigation, look over radar, radio, and flight data recordings, get pertinent data from the operator and air traffic service provider, and gather additional evidence as needed.
“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,” the Bureau added.
According to a Qantas representative, both crews were following instructions from air traffic control.
It is believed that Airservices Australia, a government-owned company in charge of overseeing the security of 11% of the world’s airspace, is investigating the controller’s directives.