Hong Kong aviation

Pilots forced to brake on runway at Hong Kong airport to avoid collision with cargo plane

Hong Kong Airlines flight to Shanghai forced to urgently stop on runway to avoid hitting cargo plane

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 4:39pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 11:25pm

Authorities are investigating an incident at Hong Kong International Airport after a departing passenger plane was forced to urgently halt on the runway to avoid colliding with a cargo aircraft.

The two planes were 1km apart when the incident happened at 8.55am on Friday, when Hong Kong Airlines flight HX236 was about to take off for Shanghai, the spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) said.

Pilots had to slam on the brakes when they noticed the Air Cargo Global B744, flight number CW831, was also crossing the runway horizontally.

“The A333 airliner later flew to the destination according to the schedule,” he said on Friday. “No one was injured in the incident and the operation was not affected.

“The CAD is investigating the incident.”

Warren Chim Wing-nin of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers’ aircraft division said it was rare for such intrusion to take place in Hong Kong and believed it would be investigated as a “serious incident”.

“The [planes were] very close, and the risk [of a collision] was rather high,” Chim said.

While the incident was still under investigation, he believed it was not related to the system renewal, which monitors traffic in the air. He said there are radars on the ground to manage the landing situation and other arrangements on the ground.

Hong Kong Airlines could not be reached for comment.

The airport on Chek Lap Kok island, which is already running at near capacity, is expected to squeeze in more than 7,000 extra flights a year with the aim of expanding the number to a total of 18,000 extra within three years, the Post has previously reported.

Starting from March, the airport has added 20 more take-offs or landings to the current 1,150 per day.

The CAD can approve more flights as the airport’s two runways are currently operating at 98.2 per cent of their annual capacity of 420,000 flights.

Both the CAD and the airport operator said they had been studying ways to “marginally” enhance the capacity of the two runways.