Europe's safety authority is cautioning operators that dark liveries can potentially result in parking collisions because visual-docking systems might not be able to recognise the manoeuvring aircraft.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has issued a bulletin advising airport operators that advanced docking and guidance systems could fail to identify an arriving aircraft.
Its advisory follows a recent probe into a collision in which a parking aircraft's engine struck the passenger airbridge.
The carrier involved in the collision – not named by EASA – had encountered similar problems owing the "dark colour" of the aircraft, says the authority, and that such occurrences had happened elsewhere in the world.
EASA says these events appear to involve more than one type of visual docking-guidance system.
Mitigating operational procedures have been put in place at some locations. "However, there have been cases, where the personnel involved in the docking procedure were not always informed of the already-established mitigating measures," says EASA.
"Moreover, there seem to be cases of aerodrome operators and competent authorities that are not aware of this issue."
EASA is recommending that airport operators determine whether their docking system could potentially suffer identification problems as a result of aircraft colour, and ensure that operational procedures to cope with malfunction are clearly communicated to all personnel.