|C2/2003L Incident between an airliner and airport maintenance vehicle at Kuusamo airport on 29 January 2003||Text version|
On Wednesday 29 January 2003 at 13.53 Finnish time, an air traffic incident occurred at Kuusamo airport, in which a charter airliner landed over a vehicle used for runway visual range (RVR) measurement at runway threshold. The Accident Investigation Board, Finland, decided to start an investigation of the incident on 31 January 2003. Ari Huhtala was appointed as investigator-in-charge, and Pekka Alaraudanjoki as a member of the investigation group. The French accident investigation authority nominated an accredited representative for the investigation.
After noon on the day of the incident, runway visual range (RVR) at Kuusamo airport decreased below 1500 meters, and the Flight Information Service Officer (FISO) asked an airport maintenance worker to measure RVR. By FISO’s permission, airport maintenance vehicle Lento 30 was moved to the RVR measurement point, which was on the runway strip behind RWY 12 threshold. At the same time, a Boeing 737-300 airliner, call sign AXY852, operated by a French company named Axis Airways on a charter flight from Paris to Kuusamo, commenced an ILS approach to runway 12 without reporting its intentions and actions to FISO. Because of AXY852’s position reports were deficient and sometimes missing, and there was some confusion related to radio communications, FISO did not have a clear picture of the flights’ progression. AXY852 landed without receiving a "runway free" report from FISO. FISO had no time to request the airport maintenance vehicle to move away from the measurement point. The aircraft passed over the vehicle at runway 12 threshold with a vertical distance of 15-20 meters.
The investigation studied the actions of airport staff and flight crew at different stages of the incident. It was recognized that the flight crew did not comply with the instructions given in the Finnish Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) on operations at AFIS aerodromes in Finland. Moreover, it was observed that FISO’s actions were partly based on assumptions. She did not ask the pilots to repeat those radio transmissions which she did not catch or understand.
The incident occurred because AXY852 did not report entering the flight information zone or notify its intentions as required. It also failed to give all mandatory position reports during approach, and finally landed on the runway occupied by the maintenance vehicle. A contributing factor was that FISO did not fully understand the radio transmissions of AXY852, which were spoken in English with a French accent, but did not ask the pilot to repeat all messages that remained unclear to her. Moreover, the flight crew was not sufficiently aware of how air traffic services are provided at AFIS aerodromes in Finland.
To improve flight safety, the investigation commission recommends that instructions for air traffic services at AFIS aerodromes should be harmonised in all European Union member states.
The comments to the final draft have been taken into account in the final report.