JAPAN- In response to a tragic collision at Tokyo’s main airport, resulting in five fatalities and multiple survivors, the Japanese government has implemented heightened air traffic control protocols.
The transport ministry declared the emergency safety measures following a January 2 incident where a Japan Airlines passenger jet collided with a Coast Guard aircraft on a Haneda Airport runway.
Swift Evacuation of 379 Passengers
“All 379 passengers and crew members aboard the airliner were promptly evacuated. Unfortunately, five out of the six crew members on the smaller plane, en route to deliver supplies to an earthquake-hit region, lost their lives.
Under the newly implemented nationwide requirements, a designated staff member must continuously monitor a system that alerts control towers to runway incursions.
To avoid misunderstandings, air traffic controllers are now prohibited from informing planes of their position in the take-off queue, as stated in the ministry’s statements available on its website.
Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito emphasized the restoration of public confidence in aviation as a primary mission. The ministry plans to establish an expert panel to explore additional safety enhancements, with their recommendations expected to be disclosed later this week.
Ministry Reveals Transcript
“Communication Transcript Reveals Discrepancies in Air Traffic Control: JAL Plane Cleared to Land, Coast Guard Instructed to Halt Before Runway
Despite controllers informing the Coast Guard plane that it was “No.1” for take-off, the sole survivor, the Coast Guard pilot, believed he had clearance to move onto the runway.
The wreckage of both planes has been cleared at Haneda, and flight operations resumed with increased staffing at the control tower. A dedicated staff member now monitors the warning system at Haneda.
Recent revelations shed light on potential air traffic control mistakes, with at least 23 “serious incidents” risking runway collisions reported by the Japan Transport Safety Board from 2013 to 2023, implicating control errors in five cases.
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