Incident during circling approach Schiphol

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On Saturday 8 July, an incident took place during the execution of a circling approach. The aircraft executed the approach for a different runway than it should have. Hereafter, it carried out a missed approach.

LVNL is investigating the incident and has reported the incident to the Dutch Safety Board.

Circling approach

During a circling approach an aircraft initially approaches a particular runway using the instrument landing system. At a later stage during the approach, the aircraft then makes a turn to bring itself into position for another runway. This is a procedure that is used worldwide. This happens regularly at Schiphol too.

Occurrence investigation

LVNL’s primary task with regard to safety is to keep aircraft separate from one another (including aircraft combined with vehicles on the ground). Air traffic control reports all occurrences that take place in practice within LVNL, in order to learn from them and to reduce the risk of such occurrences in the future. Within LVNL, all reported occurrences are investigated in order to be able to continuously improve safety.


Situation description and results of investigation

The event took place between a Boeing 737 that was landing and a Dassault Falcon 2000 that was waiting for take-off clearance.

In its final approach for the Buitenveldert runway (27), the Boeing was offered a circling approach for the Kaag runway (24). The crew of the Boeing accepted this approach. The Falcon stood ready on the Schiphol East runway (22), waiting for take-off clearance. Instead of turning toward the Kaag runway, the Boeing turned toward the Schiphol East runway. The air traffic controller immediately gave an order to the Boeing to make a go-around.

The Boeing crew indicated that they had also observed that they had turned toward the other runway. They saw the traffic on the Schiphol East runway and had already started the go-around themselves.


Departing traffic from Schiphol East runway

 The Falcon is waiting at a waiting position for the Schiphol East runway. The pilot notifies that he is ready for departure. He receives approval to drive to the Schiphol East runway as well as an explicit order to wait there, since the Schiphol East runway is being used by towing traffic.


Traffic approaching the Buitenveldert runway

The Boeing 737 makes an approach for the Buitenveldert runway, making use of the instrument landing system for this runway. At approximately 3.3 nautical miles (about 6 kilometers) out, the air traffic controller offers the pilot the possibility of making a circling approach to the Kaag runway. The Boeing turns to the left. Instead of choosing the direction for a landing on the Kaag runway, he turns toward the Schiphol East runway. The tower air traffic controller gives the pilots of the Boeing the order for a go-around. The pilot also sees the discrepancy and starts a go-around procedure. Shortly thereafter, the Runway Incursion Alerting System Schiphol (RIASS) also sounds a warning for a conflict.


Before the Boeing passes the position where the Falcon is standing, the crew is already commencing with the go-around procedure. The crew of the Boeing indicate that they have seen the Falcon on the Schiphol East runway. As a result, there was no danger of a collision. About 10 minutes later, the Boeing made a problem-free and safe landing on the Buitenveldert runway. Approximately 1 minute after the Boeing passes, the Falcon receives approval to take off.


Classification: significant