Air France flight AF268P was a scheduled flight from Sofia to Paris (LBSF-LFPG) on April 13th 2007 , operated with an Airbus A320 registration F-GJVA.
The Air France flight AF268P crew was briefed according to the Air France procedures.
At 11:43:15 Sofia Tower gave RWY 27 taxi clearance and announced departure conditions.
Sofia Tower asked the crew of Air France flight AF268P whether it was ready for an immediate take-off from RWY27: “AF 268P are you ready for immediate departure RWY 27”.
The pilot answered indistinctly and ATC asked an answer again: “Sorry, say again”.
The pilot answered the second time clearly: “We are ready for immediate AF 268P”.
ACT said “Roger” and after that informed the crew about the location of the approaching for landing on the same runway aircraft and gave instruction to stay at holding point “AF 268P landing traffic RW 27 five miles from touch down, keep holding point”
Pilots of Air France flight AF268P reported a visual on the landing aircraft: “OK. Traffic in sight AF 268P”, but didn’t repeat the Sofia-Tower instruction: “Кeep holding point”.
The air traffic controller skipped the lack of reply (confirmation of understanding).
He didn’t asked for a reiteration of his instruction “Кeep holding point”.
At 11:53:27 the landing traffic (for which Air France reported in sight), a CRJ 200 aircraft, registration DA-CRM of Lufthansa, performing scheduled flight from Düsseldorf to Sofia, flight number DLH 5HW, reported: “Sofia Tower, hallo, Lufthansa 5HW aaа…. Left hand base visual 27”.
Sofia Tower controller gave actual weather information and a landing clearance to the aircraft: “Good afternoon Lufthansa 5HW tower, wind 270°/8kt, clear to land RW 27”
Lufthansa flight confirmed the landing clearance for RWY27: “Clear to land RW 27 Lufthansa 5HW”.
This radio exchange was at the frequency of Sofia Tower, which the pilots of A320 of Air France were still listening.
At 11:53:46 there is a record from Sofia Tower: “Air France….”
At 11:53:53 informed Lufthansa that the runway is occupied and gave instruction for a go around: “Lufthansa 5….Sorry, Lufthansa 5HW runway is occupied. Go around now, go around”.
Lufthansa executed and answered: “Going around, Lufthansa 5HW”.
At 11:54:08 the air controller gave instruction to Air France: “AF 268P keep position, stop at this position”.
Air France answered: “Keep position AF 268P” .
At 11:54:55 the А320 crew asked: “Air France..,for information,…268Р…, аre will us clear for line up confirm?”
The air controller answered: “Negаtive AF 268P, I told you to keep your holding position due to landing traffic who was five miles from touch down”. Followed by: “Sorry, we understood continue in taxi for position, sorry”.
At 11:55:29 Sofia Tower asked Lufthansa: “Lufthansa 5HW, would you like to make visual approach, RW 27 right hand circuit?”
Lufthansa pilot answered: “OK…will be nice 5НW”.
At 11:56:15 the air controller cleared Air France flight AF268P for take-off
On 18.04.2007 ATSA BULGARIA submitted to the Commission a record of the trajectory of the Lufthansa 5HW flight according to the radar control transponder code 2223 , where the movement of the aircraft during the aviation occurrence is visible
At 11:52:30, when the air traffic controller asked Air France 268P whether it was ready for an immediate take-off, Lufthansa aircraft was at 7.2 NM from touch-down point of RWY27 of Sofia Airport and started left-hand turn to heading 315° ;
At 11:53:27, when landing traffic established contact with Sofia Tower, its position was at 6.9 NM from the touch-down point, with a heading of 315°;
At 11:53:46, when air traffic controller saw that the А 320 was lining up on RWY27, the landing traffic was at 6NM from the touch-down point, with a heading of 315°;
At 11:53:53, when the air traffic controller informed Lufthansa that the runway was occupied and instructed it for a go-around procedure, its location was at 5.5NM from the touch-down point
At 11:54:08, when the air traffic controller instructed Air France to keep position, the location of the landing traffic was at 4.9NM from the touch-down point.
As to the moment of aviation occurrence the air traffic controller at Sofia Tower has been communicating with 5 aircrafts and operation at Lesnovo Airfield.
Main cause :
Understated attention by ATC / workstation in Sofia Tower and by the crew of A320 aircraft during movement in maneuvering area of the airfield
Accompanying causes :
- The tower of Sofia Airport doesn’t correspondent to the new layout of RWY 27 and Terminal N.2
- Technical equipment of workstation in Sofia Tower is not useful enough and in full the ATCo in execution of his duty for control of AC in Airport Sofia maneuvering area.
- First officer training was performed onboard of Air France A320 aircraft without safety pilot.