Qantas 747 And Air Canada A319 Lost Separation At Vancouver

A Qantas Boeing 747 and an Air Canada Airbus A319 lost separation while operating in and out of…

Qantas 747 And Air Canada A319 Lost Separation At Vancouver

A Qantas Boeing 747 and an Air Canada Airbus A319 lost separation while operating in and out of Vancouver Airport during low visibility on January 16, 2020. The Air Canada Airbus A319-100, registration C-FZUL was operating flight number AC-557 from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Vancouver International Airport (YVR). It was on a CATIII ILS Approach to Vancouver’s runway 08R when the incident occurred.

The separation occurred during reduced viability. Photo: Getty Images

At the same time, as the Air Canada jet was preparing to land, a Qantas Boeing 747-400, registration VH-OEF was preparing to perform flight QF-76 from Vancouver to Sydney Airport (SYD) in Australia.

When permitted to line up on runway 08R for takeoff, the Qantas flight deck advised that they would need to perform a 30-second engine run-up. The wide-body airliner taxied into position and immediately started the engine run-up as Vancouver Air traffic Control gave them permission for takeoff. As the Qantas 747 was taking off, the Air Canada Airbus was around 5.9 nautical miles from the runway threshold.

2.8 nautical miles apart

In its incident report, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) reported that when the Qantas Boeing 747 overflew the runway localizer, the two aircraft were just 2.8 nautical miles apart.

vancouver-airport
Vancouver is Canada’s second busiest airport after Toronto. Photo: Alejandro Erickson via Wikipedia

The Air Canada Airbus A319 landed safely, while the Qantas Boeing 747 continued to Australia without further incident.

When reporting on the incident, aviation website the Aviation Herald included some of the Canadian TSB findings:

“A loss of separation occurred as per the Vancouver Tower Unit Operations Manual (UOM) and Manual of Air Traffic Service (MATS) Tower/ACC stating a departing aircraft has to pass overhead of the localizer site before the next CAT II/III arriving aircraft is at 4 NM final.”

What is a CATIII ILS Approach?

A CATIII ILS (instrument landing system) approach is a ground-based approach system that pilots use to land during poor visibility caused meteorological conditions that include low ceiling (clouds) rain, fog, or blowing snow. The ILS guides aircraft by a combination of radio signals and high-intensity lighting arrays.

CATIII ILS landing is required when pilots are unable to perform a manual landing due to poor visibility, allowing the aircraft’s’ autopilot to land the plane safely.

air-canada-a319
Air Canada Airbus A319 was arriving from Los Angeles. Photo: Lord of the Wings via Wikimedia

In the report of the Air Canada-Qantas incident at Vancouver Airport, it would appear that both aircraft were too close for comfort. In the TSB report, it says that when the Qantas Boeing 747 overflew the localizer, the two planes were only 2.8 nautical miles apart. Given the poor visibility at the time, it’s quite possible that neither aircraft would have seen the other.

Having said all this, most large airports around the world stay open no matter what the visibility is like. This is thanks to advanced Autoland systems and experienced air traffic controllers.

What do you think of the incident? Is 2.8 nautical miles too close? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Virgin Atlantic Retains Advisers Amid Insolvency Risk

UK carrier Virgin Atlantic continues to look for ways to keep itself alive amid the drastic downturn in…

Virgin Atlantic Retains Advisers Amid Insolvency Risk

UK carrier Virgin Atlantic continues to look for ways to keep itself alive amid the drastic downturn in passenger traffic. Beyond seeking government assistance and searching for investors, it appears to have recently retained the services of a professional firm to prepare for a possible insolvency process.

Virgin Atlantic has had difficulties securing government assistance. Photo: Getty Images

Exploring all options

According to Sky News, Virgin Atlantic continues to explore its options to obtain additional funding. However, it was recently discovered that the airline has retained the services of Alvarez & Marsal (A&M), a restructuring specialist, earlier this week. The consulting firm has been requested to prepare contingency plans for an insolvency process.

Sources report that A&M’s work would be focused on possibilities for a “pre-pack administration”. According to Company Rescue, this is where a company “arranges a deal to sell its assets to a buyer before appointing administrators to facilitate the sale”. Should the airline need to go this route, it would hopefully lead to a restructured and financially viable carrier emerging from this global pandemic.

Sky News notes that a pre-pack deal would “wipe out the equity” of existing shareholders, meaning Virgin Group’s 51% and Delta Air Lines‘ 49% ownership of the airline will have vanished.

Virgin Atlantic, Boeing 747, Retirement
Virgin Atlantic is retiring its fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

A sign of the severe situation

While retaining A&M’s services doesn’t guarantee that pre-pack administration is guaranteed, it does highlight the seriousness of the airline’s financial situation. Aviation experts note that it may also reflect the legal obligation of Virgin Atlantic’s directors to prepare for such an outcome.

The airline has already had to take a few strict measures to slow its cash burn. This includes the following actions:

  • Cutting 3,000 jobs from its workforce (this equates to one-third of the company)
  • Ending a 36-year relationship with London Gatwick Airport
  • Reduction of its fleet size
  • The early retirement of its Boeing 747s
Virgin Group, Richard Branson, Cash Injection
Virgin boss Richard Branson is considering the sale of his stake in Virgin Galactic. Photo: Getty Images

Virgin Atlantic’s board continues to discuss options with the UK government and private investors in the hopes of securing new capital. One notable group involved is Houlihan Lokey, which is an investment bank advising the airline on the process. The global investment bank is said to be in ongoing talks with up to a dozen parties, including Apollo Global Management, Centerbridge and Cerberus Capital Management.

Comments from the airline

Responding to inquiries on the subject, a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said the following:

“Because of significant costs to our business caused by unprecedented market conditions which the COVID-19 crisis has brought with it, we are exploring all available options to obtain additional external funding…Discussions with a number of stakeholders continue and are constructive, meanwhile the airline remains in a stable position.”

The airline adds that it is committed to continuing the provision of essential connectivity on competitive terms to consumers and businesses in Britain and beyond, once it emerges from this crisis.

What do you think will happen to Virgin Atlantic? Will we see the government step in? Or is it headed towards administration? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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