Shanghai aviation authorities question why air traffic controllers cleared two aircraft for same runway

The civil aviation authority is expected to announce on Monday disciplinary action air traffic control managers at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport following the near-collision of two aircraft on a runway, reports.

Local media reported on Sunday morning that the control tower managers involved had already been sacked or transferred after for failing to report the incident.

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However, the Civil Aviation Administration of China told said the reports were not “entirely accurate” and punitive measures were still being decided.

Two loaded passenger aircraft almost collided on the airfield on Tuesday, which could have resulted in a disaster.

China National Radio reported earlier that an A320 aircraft carrying 147 passengers to Tianjin was preparing for take off just noon after a 19-minute delay from its initial departure time.

Just after noon, the control tower cleared the aircraft for take off on runway 36L. As the plane hurtled down the runway at 200 km/h, the pilot suddenly saw an A330 taxiing across the same runway.

The A330, carrying 266 passengers from Beijing, had also cleared by the control tower for its move.

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After A320 pilot confirmed with the control tower that the A330 was crossing the runway but there was neither the distance nor time for the A320 to brake as it was already travelling at 240km/h.

The A320 pilot sped the plane to full throttle to made an urgent take-off instead. An accident was avoided but the two aircraft were reportedly only 20 metres apart at one point.

If not for the A320 pilot quick thinking, the accident could have claimed the lives of 413 passengers and 26 crew aboard both aircraft.

The CAAC is still investigating the incident.

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