Canadian investigators have opened a probe into the overrun at Halifax Stanfield airport by a WestJet Boeing 737-800 which was arriving from Toronto on 5 January.
The aircraft had been approaching the waypoint TETAR – some 11nm north-west of the airport – when it was told that the intended arrival runway 14 was experiencing crosswinds of 14kt, gusting to 23kt, with a visual range of 4,000ft.
Its crew was also informed that all recent arrivals had been using runway 05 – the longer of the airport’s two runways – and there was no braking action data for 14, which was contaminated with wet snow.
Shortly before the arrival the updated meteorological data at 12:00 indicated the winds had shifted to a northerly direction, at 15kt with 23kt gusts, which suggests a tailwind component for aircraft landing on runway 14.
Communications from the Halifax tower indicate that the crew was uncertain as to where the 737 had come to a halt after the roll-out.
The tower controller told one of the ground crews to travel to the threshold of runway 32 – the opposite end of 14 – because the WestJet aircraft “doesn’t know if he’s stopped by the end of the runway”.
“We can’t see from the tower,” she added, according to air-ground communications archived by LiveATC.
The pilots told the tower that 172 passengers and six crew were on board, but none was injured.
Initial inspection of the 737 by attending emergency personnel indicated “minimal”, if any, damage to the jet, the radio communications show.
WestJet says the aircraft, operating flight WS248, “experienced an incident” and “departed the end of the runway after landing normally”.
It adds that Transportation Safety Board of Canada will be carrying out an investigation, but has released the aircraft.
The incident temporarily closed runway 14/32.
TSB states that it sent an investigative team to Halifax following the “overrun” of the 737, and will “assess the occurrence”.