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Tuesday, 3 March 1998
Page: 257


Mr Kelvin Thomson asked the Minister for Transport and Regional Development, upon notice, on 27 May 1997:

(1) Further to the answer to Question No. 1071 (Hansard , 14 May 1997,page 3648), has his attention been drawn to a statement made by the present Deputy Prime Minister to the House of Representatives (Hansard , 23 August 1995, page 303), alleging that in the preceding 8 years there had been ten cases of jumbo jets and other large planes attempting to land at Essendon Airport instead of Tullamarine Airport, compared to the five instances referred to in his answer; if so, is he able to (a) explain the anomaly and (b) say whether the Deputy Prime Minister is aware of further instances not disclosed in his answer.

(2) Does his answer to question No. 1071 provide a complete disclosure of the incidents.


Mr Vaile (Transport and Regional Development) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (BASI) has advised that the ten occurrences concerning pilot misidentification of Essendon and Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airports, which the present Deputy Prime Minister made reference to in Hansard, 23 August 1985, page 303, occurred in the period 30 May 1977 to 7 January 1985.

These occurrences included four instances, two of which involved large passenger aircraft, where pilots mistook Essendon Airport for Melbourne Airport and are summarised as follows:

Date

Aircraft Type

Operation

Departure point

Occurrence

30/5/1977

DC8

International Regular Public Transport (RPT)

Wellington, NZ

Mistook Essendon (EN) runway(R)35 for Melbourne (ML) R 34

6/6/1977

Boeing 707

International RPT

Auckland

Mistook EN for ML

24/8/1977

Cessna 401A

Charter

Bendigo

Mistook EN runways for ML

6/2/1979

Falcon 200

Military

Canberra

Mistook EN runways for ML

From a search of BASI's database it would appear that the remaining six occurrences referred to by the present Deputy Prime Minister involved pilots mistaking Melbourne Airport for Essendon Airport. None of these occurrences involved large passenger aircraft. These occurrences are summarised as follows:

Date

Aircraft Type

Operation

Departure point

Occurrence

25/8/1978

Piper PA-34-200

Non-Commercial

Broken Hill

Mistook ML for EN

1/9/1978

Piper PA-23-250

Charter

Swan Hill

Mistook ML for EN

27/4/1979

Mooney M20J

Non-Commercial

Mangalore

Mistook ML for EN

17/8/1980

Cessna 210M

Non-Commercial

Wimpinmerit

Mistook ML R34 for EN R26

5/5/1981

Cessna 310Q

Charter

Portland

Mistook ML R34 for EN R35

7/1/1985

Gates Learjet 35A

Misc

Melbourne

Mistook ML for EN

(2) BASI has advised that in his response to question No 1071, the then Minister for Transport and Regional Development stated that Airservices Australia and the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation advised that during the period 1 January 1970 to 18 December 1996, a total of fourteen occurrences were reported to BASI involving pilots misidentifying Essendon Airport for Melbourne Airport.

BASI has advised that the information provided to the Minister was incomplete due to coding errors entered on its database which have since been rectified. As a result, BASI has identified sixteen reported occurrences in the period 1 January 1970 to 18 December 1996, where pilots have misidentified Essendon Airport for Melbourne Airport. The incidents are summarised in the following table with the additional two incidents marked by asterisk.

Date

Aircraft Type

Operation

Departure point

Occurrence

30/5/1977

DC8

International Regular Public Transport (RPT)

Wellington

Mistook Essendon (EN) runway(R)35 for Melbourne (ML) R34

6/6/1977

Boeing 707

International RPT

Auckland

Mistook EN for ML

24/8/1977

Cessna 401A

Charter

Bendigo

Mistook EN runways for ML

6/2/1979

Falcon 200

Military

Canberra

Mistook EN R17 for ML R16

19/6/1985

Boeing 747

International RPT

Sydney

Aircraft radar vectored via EN to ML commenced descent to EN

*22/10/1986

DC9

RPT

Brisbane

Mistook EN for ML

13/5/1987

Boeing 767

International RPT

Wellington

Mistook EN for ML

8/8/1987

Boeing 747

International RPT

Adelaide

Mistook EN R35 for ML R34

23/2/1988

Piper PA-31

Charter

Hobart

Mistook EN R35 for ML R34

12/12/1989

Boeing 747

International RPT

Adelaide

Mistook EN R26 for ML R27

18/12/1989

Boeing 737

Domestic RPT

Sydney

Mistook EN for ML R34

6/9/1990

DC9

Domestic cargo

Launceston

Misidentified EN R26 for ML R27

15/12/1990

Boeing 747

International RPT

Sydney

Mistook EN R17 for ML R16

27/12/1990

Piper PA-32

Private

Warrnam-bool

Mistook EN R35 for ML R34

*24/2/1991

Boeing 747

International RPT

Kuala Lumpur

Mistook EN for ML

1/11/1994

Boeing 747

International RPT

Sydney

Mistook EN R35 for ML R34