‘Near misss’ at Australian airport prompts landing procedure review

Melbourne, Feb 8 (IANS) Calls for a review of Australia’s airline safety procedures have been prompted by footage of two Qantas Airlines planes coming within seconds of a crashlanding at Melbourne airport in 2015.

The video, taken on July 5, 2015, shows two Qantas carriers simultaneously aborting landing attempts at Tullamarine, Melbourne’s international airport, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

According to media reports, the Qantas jets — arriving from Sydney and Canberra at night time — were only given 20 seconds to pull out of their respective landings, due to an Emirates plane delaying its scheduled takeoff.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said the ‘near miss’ was a “potential disaster” and claimed the planes had broken air safety restrictions by coming within one nautical mile of each other.

“This was a near miss,” Xenophon said.

“Two aircraft nearly collided in air, because of a series of systemic failures.”

But both Qantas and Airservices Australia, the nation’s corporate body responsible for airspace management, have denied Xenophon’s allegation that the planes broke safety regulations.

Tullamarine airport’s landing grid, which involves intersecting runways operating concurrently, is being blamed for the mix-up.

The incident is currently under investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

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