9 May 2016 - Incident during taxiing Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Description of the situation

On 9 May 2016, an incident took place on the taxiway network at Schiphol. At the time, the Polderbaan was being used as the main landing runway. Aircraft that land on the Polderbaan may use the W5 interchange with the Zwanenburgbaan runway to taxi to Schiphol Centrum. After the interchange, aircraft are allocated a northerly route or southerly route by air traffic control, depending on where they are to be parked.

A cargo aircraft of the type Airbus A330-200 and two passenger aircraft of the type Embraer E190 landed successively on the Polderbaan runway. All three were given a parking bay that would require taking the southerly taxi route after crossing the Zwanenburgbaan runway. Because the Airbus taxied more slowly than the two passenger aircraft, the air traffic controller on the ground offered them the option of overtaking. To that end, the Airbus was requested to use taxiway C after passing the Zwanenburgbaan interchange, while the two Embraer passenger aircraft were ordered to continue on taxiway D after passing the interchange.

In order to allocate priority for the use of taxiway Q, the Airbus was ordered to wait before A25. The first Embraer quickly passed and reached taxiway Q well before the Airbus did. The second Embraer had almost reached as far as the Airbus when the Airbus crew were told that they could proceed onto taxiway Q after the second Embraer had passed.

However, the second passenger aircraft was denied right of way by the cargo aircraft and was obliged to brake sharply in order to prevent a possible collision.

Results of the investigation and conclusions

The Airbus crew later stated that an error had been made in relation priority of the aircraft. They had assumed that priority was to be given only to the first Embraer. The second Embraer passed the Airbus just before the interchange. As a result, the Airbus crew had visual contact with the second Embraer only at the last moment.

Because this concerns an incorrectly implemented instruction, no further mitigating measures have been proposed. However, the parties involved have been informed of the incident. The incident has also been brought to the attention of the air traffic controllers through an article in LVNL's Safety Magazine.