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Derry City Airport

Volume 464: debated on Monday 8 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make a statement on the investigation of the runway subsidence incident at Derry City airport on 8 August 2007; and what the conclusions of the investigation were. (156712)

The aerodrome conducted an immediate investigation into the incident that occurred on 8 August 2007 and the report was presented to the CAA. The investigation revealed that the First Choice aircraft (airbus A320) that had arrived from Reus (Spain) was unable to access the main aircraft parking area due to congestion. In agreement with Air Traffic Control (ATC) the aircraft was initially held on a taxiway until space became available. While holding on the taxiway, the main aircraft wheels sank into the taxiway surface.

The report concluded that the aircraft should not have been held on that taxiway, as the taxiway was not designed to accept the weight of the A320 aircraft. The aerodrome operator subsequently issued an operating instruction that prevents aircraft of this size using that taxiway in the future. They have also commissioned a review of the pavement strength for the main runway and other paved surfaces. The United Kingdom Aeronautical Information Package (UKAIP) entry for the aerodrome has also been amended to reflect the pavement values for the aerodrome surfaces. They have also instigated a review of the equivalent commercial information available to pilots.

The aerodrome is also planning a new extension to the aircraft parking area in 2008 that will provide additional parking stands, which should reduce the need for aircraft to hold pending stand availability. This will include a new direct taxiway from the main runway.