An Emirates Boeing 777 nearly collided with a truck and other equipment at the end of Auckland International Airport’s main runway on takeoff last month because the pilots were unaware that a section of the runway was being repaired.

New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) says it is investigating the incident, which occurred at around 16:15 on 22 March at Auckland airport.

“The 777… was taking off from the main runway, which had been shortened due to repair works underway at one end… The crew were not aware of the shortened runway,” it says.

This meant they “had to increase to maximum thrust during the takeoff when they noticed machinery working at the end of the runway ahead”.

It adds, “The aircraft cleared the work area by the permitted margin [and] nobody was injured.”
Equipment in the work area included a truck and a car, TAIC air accident investigator Peter Williams says in an emailed response to a query from ATI.

He says the “normal full-length operations on the runway in use, 05R, [in terms of] the declared accelerate-stop distance available (ASDA) is 3,623m (11,900ft)”.

But “the effective ASDA from taxiway A10 at the time of the incident was 2,170m.”
He says the runway work was scheduled between 19 March and 8 April and information about this was included in the Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS), the notice to airmen and the operator’s briefing package”.
Emirates operates daily between Auckland and Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

There have been instances in the past where passenger aircraft have hit large equipment while trying to take off. In October 2000, for example, a Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400 hit construction equipment on takeoff from a closed runway in Taipei resulting in 83 deaths.

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