The Civil Aviation Authority of Macao SAR (AACM) has concluded the investigation of the runway incursion incident which occurred in November last year at Macau International Airport. To prevent similar occurrences, the Authority has issued safety recommendations to the airport to take measures to ensure the air traffic controllers stay focused on their responsibilities during work and ensure the normal operations of the surface movement radar.
On 12 November 2018, upon getting the approval for clearance from the Air Traffic Control Tower at the Macau International Airport, a Thai AirAsia Airbus A320-200 aircraft was lining up on Runway 34 to prepare for the take-off, while a “Follow-me” vehicle was still doing inspection at the runway end. The incident triggered the alarm of the surface movement radar in the tower. The tower controller immediately instructed the “Follow-me” vehicle to vacate the runway. The incident did not cause any damage to the aircraft or the vehicle, nor did it cause injury to the passengers or the staff. The nearest distance between both moving objects was about 1,480 metres. The flight eventually took off safely from Macao and departed to Bangkok.
The Accident Investigation and Prevention Group of the AACM kicked off the investigation of the incident soon after the occurrence and has now completed the final report. According to the report, the tower controller did not follow the operational procedures to check the flight progress strip when issuing the departure clearance to the flight; during the incident, the tower supervisor was not at the working position and so did not monitor the work of the tower controller; the surface movement radar display was not displaying the real situation properly; the fact that the position of the radar was a bit far from the tower working position had reduced the awareness of the tower controller on the radar display operations.
Given the above findings, the AACM issued the following safety recommendations to the airport: in order to ensure that the tower controllers stay focused on their responsibilities during work, the airport should implement measures on the tower controllers from engaging in non-operational activities when manning at controller working positions; the tower supervisor or his/her delegate is required to be present at the visual control room to monitor the tower controllers all the time during operations; the airport should always maintain the surface movement radar in good conditions to ensure the ground movement surveillance system is reliable for air traffic control operations; the airport should re-assess the distance between the tower working position and the position of the surface movement radar; the airport should upgrade the flight progress strip system to a system with automated alert function for better planning and handling of the ground and air traffic.
The incident investigation report has been uploaded (the English version) onto the official website of the AACM, with the link as follows: https://www.aacm.gov.mo/reference.php?id=36&pageid=152&lg=engView gallery