Runway at Tokyo’s Haneda airport reopens a week after fatal collision

Must read

TOKYO — Tokyo’s Haneda airport is almost back to its normal operation Monday as it reopened the runway a week after a fatal collision between a Japan Airlines airliner and a coast guard aircraft seen to have been caused by human error.

The collision occurred Tuesday evening when JAL Flight 516 carrying 379 passengers and flight crew landed right behind the coast guard aircraft preparing for a take off on the same runway, both engulfed in flames. All occupants of the JAL’s Airbus A350-900 airliner safely evacuated in 18 minutes. The captain of the coast guard’s much smaller Bombardier Dash-8 escaped with burns but his five crew members died.

At the coast guard Haneda base, colleagues of the five flight crew lined up and saluted to mourn for their deaths as a black vehicle carrying their bodies drove past them. The victims’ bodies were to return to their families Sunday after police autopsies as part of their separate investigation of possible professional negligence.

Haneda reopened three runways the night of the crash, but the last runway had remained closed for the investigation, cleanup of the debris and repairs.

Transport ministry said that the runway reopened early Monday and the airport is ready for full operations.

The collision caused more than 1,200 flights to be canceled, affecting about 200,000 passengers during the New Year holiday period. The airport was crowded with passengers Monday.

The investigation focuses on what caused the coast guard flight crew to believe they had a go-ahead for their takeoff while the traffic control transcript showed no clear confirmation between them and the traffic control. Traffic control staff assigned to the runway apparently missed an alert system when it indicated the unexpected coast guard entry.

The Haneda airport traffic control added a new position Saturday specifically assigned to monitor the runway to step up safety measures.

Copyright © 2024 The Washington Times, LLC.

More articles

Latest article