Another beautiful day at Cairns Airport and its ‘adequate’ runway

But for the timely intervention of an AirServices Australia officer in the tower at Cairns airport on January 21, a Tigerair Australia A320 bound for Brisbane would have attempted to take off from the wrong starting point on its 2580 metres long runway.

The flight would, according to pilots, most likely have taken off using only 2100 metres of the runway, provided nothing went wrong, such as an engine failure, or perhaps the mistaken use of less powerful but more economical thrust settings, it which case things could have gone badly wrong for everyone in the 180 seat jet.

Those are the thoughts of airline professionals who hold positions demanding complete attention to the requirements of safe airline operations, and who are aware of the pressure for quick turnarounds or punctuality.

The notification of the incident as worthy of investigation by the ATSB can be read here on its website, or a better illustrated report, and a short discussion of the incident, can be found on the Aviation Herald website, which is an invaluable free resource for those interested in no nonsense air safety reporting and which asks for a donation toward its running costs.

The ATSB expects to report its findings by May, a very short turnaround for a vital agency that is also under resourced.

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