Investigators look into unauthorised take-off

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 November, 2011, 12:00am


Japanese aviation authorities are investigating an unauthorised take-off of a China Eastern Airlines jetliner heading from Osaka to Shanghai on Monday. The airline is also conducting an investigation.

The Airbus A330, flight number MU616, allegedly took off without receiving clearance from the tower at Kansai international airport, Kyodo News website reported.

A traffic controller gave the plane permission to queue for take-off at 1.45pm, but no final clearance was given. While the controller was talking to the pilot of an incoming helicopter, the tower noticed that flight MU616, with 245 passengers and crew on board, had started accelerating down the runway. The pilot was ordered to stop but continued.

Zhang Ming, for China Eastern's communication department, said the airline had launched an internal investigation into the incident.

The review would be independent of an official investigation by Japanese civil aviation authorities.

Zhang said he could not confirm speculation that the incident was caused by a language barrier between the Japanese traffic controller and the Chinese crew.

'We cannot endorse any hypothesis until we complete the investigation,' he said.

Officials with the Japanese transport ministry told Kyodo News that the flight had not threatened the safety of other aircraft but the investigation was launched to determine if the airline had violated Japanese aviation regulations.

In August, Chinese civil aviation authorities permanently revoked the licence of a South Korean captain of Shanghai-based Junyao Airlines for ignoring traffic control orders and impeding the emergency landing of a Qatar Airways plane.

The captain refused to obey six consecutive orders from traffic controllers and insisted on landing before the Qatar plane, which said it was short on fuel.

The Shanghai-based airline was banned from hiring new foreign pilots and was ordered to give its existing foreign pilots at least 40 hours of retraining.


The number of passengers and crew aboard flight MU616 from Osaka to Shanghai