Photo: China Eastern Airlines airplane. (Photo @FM899)
Last week, an error by air traffic controllers at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in China almost caused a crash between two planes on a runway at the same time.
According to the South China Morning Post, a China Eastern Airlines Airbus A320 plane was taking off from a runway at the Shanghai airport when air traffic controllers permitted an Airbus A330 also owned by China Eastern Airlines to be taxied across the takeoff runway.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China reported that the Airbus A320 managed to become airborne before a possible collision with the Airbus A330 aircraft crossing the runway. It was not immediately clear how many passengers were on the two planes, but no injuries were reported.
The captain of the Airbus A320 reports being cleared for takeoff by air traffic controllers, but when he saw the other plane crossing the runway, he continued the takeoff and pulled the plane into the air above the taxied aircraft.
CCTV News shared a video on YouTube featuring an artist rendering of the near miss:
While officials claim that the two planes would not have collided if they had both remained grounded on the runway, China’s Civil Aviation Administration found that the error was caused by air-traffic control staff. The full investigation into the incident continues.
China Eastern Airlines said in a statement that its flight crews were following air-traffic control instructions and made a timely response to the situation. The experienced captain of the flight taking off helped the airport and airline avoid a major potential accident.