Narrative:The incident occurred when a Boeing 737-2Y5A aircraft landed on Taxiway 2 at London Gatwick Airport after making a Surveillance Radar Approach (SRA) at night to land on runway 26R. Taxiway 2 was unoccupied at the time. The aircraft was subsequently taxied to the parking area where the passengers and crew disembarked via the normal channels.
|Date:||20 OCT 1993|
|C/n / msn:|| 23038/949|
|First flight:|| 1983-03-01 (10 years 8 months)|
|Total airframe hrs:||40574|
|Engines:|| 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15A|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 95|
|Total:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 101 |
|Airplane damage:|| None|
|Location:||London-Gatwick Airport (LGW) (United Kingdom)
|Phase:|| Landing (LDG)|
|Nature:||International Scheduled Passenger|
|Departure airport:||Malta-Luqa Airport (MLA/LMML), Malta|
|Destination airport:||London-Gatwick Airport (LGW/EGKK), United Kingdom|
(i) Runway 26R was clearly visible throughout the approach but the pilots looked for and selected a pattern of lights to the right of it because they assumed erroneously that 26R was in fact 26L and they knew that the designated runway had to be to the right of this.
(ii) The flight crew had not briefed themselves on the lighting they were expecting to see on Runway 26R once the change of runway had been confirmed.
(iii) The crews' misinterpretation of the visual cues was facilitated by:
a. The similarity between the night time view of Runways 26L and 26R with associated taxiways to the right which are marked with green centreline lighting.
b. The use of Runway 26R sometimes as a runway with edge lighting and sometimes as a taxiway with centreline lighting.
c. The green centreline lights of Taxiway 2 were set at a brilliance of 30% until the aircraft was about 2 miles from touchdown when they were reset to 10%. Whilst the lights were at the brighter intensity the chance of mistaking Taxiway 2 for the runway was considerably increased and the mistake was possible at an earlier stage in the approach.
Official accident investigation report
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Malta-Luqa Airport to London-Gatwick Airport as the crow flies is 2049 km (1281 miles).