Hong Kong airport runway incident under investigation by Civil Aviation Department

Victor Ting

The aviation authority is investigating a runway incident at Hong Kong International Airport where a cargo jet had to pull back from landing to avoid a potential collision with a commercial airliner with no passengers that was still taking off.

The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) said in a statement on Saturday that the two aircraft were more than 1.7 kilometres apart, adding no one was injured and airport operations were unaffected from Friday’s incident, which came even with the huge slump in air traffic during the coronavirus pandemic.

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According to the department’s initial findings, a Federal Express MD11 freighter FX9741 travelling from Anchorage to the city approached the South Runway (25L) at about 6.15pm on Friday, when a Hong Kong Airlines A330 airliner HX765 flying to Bangkok with no passengers on board was on its take-off run.

Before landing, the freighter crew noticed the aircraft ahead had not fully left the runway and executed a so-called missed approach to stop the landing.

The passenger jet took off as planned and the freighter landed “uneventfully” from another approach.

A Hong Kong Airlines A330 airliner, like the ones pictured, was involved in Friday’s incident. Photo: Reuters

“The CAD attaches great importance to the runway incident and is sparing no effort to investigate it,” the department said, adding it had reported the incident to the Air Accident Investigation Authority in accordance with the established mechanism.

Air traffic in Hong Kong has slumped since the coronavirus hit the city in late January. A total of 9,445 aircraft landed or took off at Hong Kong airport in April, a 73.5 per cent drop compared with the same month last year.

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