The aircraft began its takeoff roll from the displaced landing threshold of Runway 26R at Gatwick Airport, rather than at the beginning of the runway. This decreased the distance available for the takeoff by 417 m.
The beginning of the runway is marked by a white line, but the part of the runway before the landing threshold does not include white edge lights or centreline lights. This configuration complies with relevant specifications. The taxi route to the runway brought the aircraft up to the beginning of the runway on a taxiway that was on the same heading as the runway and no turn was required. This is unusual, as most runway entries will require a turn onto the runway centreline, but compliant. These factors, combined with the perceived lack of lighting on the pre-threshold part of the runway, meant the crew did not identify the beginning of the runway and instead taxied up to the lights of the landing threshold to begin their takeoff roll. Consequently, the aircraft took off with insufficient thrust to meet regulatory takeoff performance criteria for the actual length of runway available.
Following previous takeoff performance-related events with other aircraft operators, the airport operator undertook a review of operations using Runway 26R and introduced measures to reduce the likelihood of aircraft beginning their takeoff from the wrong point on the runway. Further measures were taken after this event.
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Published 6 December 2018