20 April 2017 – Incident during taxiing Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Notification

On Thursday 20 April an incident took place on the aerodrome movement area at Schiphol. A taxiing aircraft and an aircraft which was pushed back from its parking position came close to each other.

LVNL is investigating the occurrence and has reported the occurrence to the Dutch Safety Board.

Occurrence investigation

LVNL’s primary task with regard to safety is to keep aircraft separate from one another (including aircraft combined with vehicles on the ground). Air traffic control reports all occurrences that take place in practice within LVNL, in order to learn from them and to reduce the risk of such occurrences in the future. Within LVNL, all reported occurrences are investigated in order to be able to continuously improve safety.

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Situation

On the Polderbaan (runway) an aircraft type Boeing 737-800 has landed. Its destination is parking position D54. The Zwanenburgbaan is also in use for landings. That’s why the Boeing is taxiing via the southerly taxiway Zulu. After Zulu the Boeing proceeds via taxiway Quebec.

Continuation of the route

At the time of the occurrence the Kaagbaan is closed due to maintenance work. A part of taxiway Bravo is also closed; the part between A2 and A6. That’s why the Boeing is instructed to proceed via the non-standard route Alfa, instead off the standard-route Bravo.

It is decided to let the Boeing continue taxiing via route A until intersection A9 where the aircraft will make a turn towards the apron and parking position D54. However, this decision is not coordinated with the air traffic controller responsible for the apron where the incident took place.

On the apron

At parking position D27 another Boeing 737-800 is pushed back for departure. An Embraer 190 which is parked at D31 also receives permission for push-back. At the time the incoming Boeing is driving next to the Embrear on taxiway A, the Embraer begins its push-back.

Only when the arriving Boeing makes a left turn at A9, the backward driving Embraer comes in sight of the Boeing crew. An emergency stop is made. At the same time the driver of the push-back truck notices the Boeing and he also stops.

Both the Boeing crew and the push-back driver consider the remaining space between the two aircraft to be very small. The ground controller in question did not notice the conflict between the two aircraft until the Boeing crew reported it.

Conclusion

The ground controller in question has overlooked the conflict between the Boeing taxiing to D54 and the Embraer being pushed back from D31. This was due to the increased complexity as a result of the maintenance work on the Kaagbaan and the traffic pressure at the moment.

At the time of the incident several ground controllers were at work, each with their own area of ​​responsibility. Mutual coordination on the incoming Boeing could possibly have prevented the incident. An article in the Internal Safety Magazine of LVNL addresses this incident and emphasizes more intensive coordination in similar situations.

Classification: serious incident