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EASA warns airports after incidents: dark coloured aircraft may not be recognised by parking systems
17 May 2018

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a bulletin, recommending airport operators to determine if the docking systems may encounter problems in identifying aircraft due to their colour.

This recommendation was issued in the light of an incident in Lisbon, Portugal in May 2015. An Airbus A320 operated by Brussels Airlines arrived at the parking stand at Lisbon Airport but was not identified by the automatic guidance system. The Aircraft Positioning and Information System (APIS) is a laser-based technology, which identifies and guides the aircraft to stop at the correct point corresponding to the aircraft type. The APIS system did not identify the aircraft and failed to give information to the pilot to stop at the position corresponding to the type of aircraft (A320).
The aircraft stopped a few meters ahead having struck the jetbridge with the nacelle of engine # 1.

An investigation showed that the APIS system did not recognize the aircraft because of the dark color of its painting. The aircraft carried a special Tintin colour scheme.

EASA states that Brussels Airlines after this occurrence, found that similar occurrences have happened around the world.