Saturday, March 19, 2016

Chinese airplane under probe over unauthorized runway approach

Korea's transportation ministry has launched a probe into an incident involving two aircraft that almost collided on Friday in fog on the runway of a provincial airport.

A passenger airliner belonging to China Southern Airlines almost cut off one from Korea's largest airline Korean Air on the runway at Cheongju International Airport on Friday night, according to South Korea's transportation ministry. There was no reported injury.

There was heavy fog at the time of the incident, making it hard to discern other airplanes with the naked eye, according to witnesses.

The Chinese plane carrying about 90 passengers appeared to have approached the runway from the right while the Korean Air airliner was making a landing at the airport in Cheongju, some 137 kilometers south of Seoul, it said.

The Chinese plane had planned to take off for Dalian after the Korean-flagged aircraft with 137 people on board passed the airstrip.

The collision was averted when the pilots of the Korean Air flight veered left as they were landing to keep as much distance as possible from the Chinese airplane.

Dense fog could be blamed for the Chinese airliner entering the runway, as it went passed the stop line before receiving approval for take-off from the control tower, according to a government source.

The ministry said that it has launched an investigation into the incident, based on the communication records of the two airplanes' pilots with the airport's control tower and other evidence.

If China Southern Airlines is found to have violated relevant aviation law, the government plans to request Chinese authorities take punitive actions, it said. 

Original article can be found here: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr

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