ASL Belgium B734 at Porto on Apr 27th 2021, cleared for takeoff despite vehicle on runway

Last Update: May 4, 2021 / 18:21:54 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Apr 27, 2021

Classification
Incident

Flight number
3V-4959

Destination
Liege, Belgium

Aircraft Registration
OE-IAJ

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-400

ICAO Type Designator
B734

An ASL Airlines Belgium Boeing 737-400 freighter on behalf of Fedex, registration OE-IAJ performing flight 3V-4959/FX-4959 from Porto (Portugal) to Liege (Belgium) with 2 crew, was cleared for takeoff from Porto's runway 35 and commenced takeoff at about 21:47L (20:47Z).

About 12 minutes earlier tower had cleared a follow me vehicle to perform the nightly runway inspection. The vehicle entered runway 35 and worked northbound reaching the threshold runway 17. The vehicle turned around to now move southbound when the driver saw bright white lights near the threshold of runway 35 which seemed to move and queried with tower whether an aircraft was lining up runway 35. Tower reported an aircraft was in their takeoff run and instructed the vehicle to immediately vacate the runway via the left runway edge.

The Boeing crew saw two white lights but weren't sure whether these were runway edge lights due to the night environment. After becoming airborne and in the climb the crew queried with tower about the vehicle and received a reply, that this was a misunderstanding.

Portugal's GPIAA reported according to estimation by the vehicle driver as well as preliminary analysis of the ground radar the separation between the vehicle and aircraft reduced to 300 meters. The occurrence was rated a serious incident and is being investigated by the GPIAA.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Apr 27, 2021

Classification
Incident

Flight number
3V-4959

Destination
Liege, Belgium

Aircraft Registration
OE-IAJ

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-400

ICAO Type Designator
B734

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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