Japan Airlines flight had permission to land


The Japan Airlines plane that went up in flames on Tuesday after it presumably collided with a coast guard plane apparently had permission to land on a runway at Tokyo’s Haneda airport.

This while the pilot of the coast guard plane was allegedly instructed to wait before taking off.

Japan’s Transportation Safety Board confirmed that Japan Airlines’ Airbus plane had been cleared to land, but did not elaborate.

Takuya Fujiwara of the Transportation Safety Board told local media that since the incident they have found the flight and voice recorder of the Coast Guard plane, but that of the Airbus plane is still being sought.

The local TV news channel NHK reported on a recording from Haneda’s control tower that was apparently made moments before the collision. In the recording, someone can apparently be heard giving the Airbus plane permission to approach the runway.

NHK reported that the control tower instructed the Coast Guard plane to wait, but according to an unnamed Coast Guard official, the Coast Guard pilot said immediately after the crash that he had permission to take off .

Japanese authorities are meanwhile investigating the incident, and Japan Airlines has also undertaken to send a team to assist the investigators.

RNews reported earlier about the Airbus plane that suddenly caught fire on the runway. The plane had just arrived from Sapporo Airport, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, when the collision happened.

All but one of the six people on the Coast Guard plane were killed in the crash. The 379 passengers, including eight children, and staff on the Airbus plane escaped minutes before the entire plane was engulfed in flames.

“I thought it was a normal landing, but then I started to smell smoke,” a passenger with a young child told NHK.

“It is a miracle that we survived,” said another passenger.

Doug Drury, an aviation expert at Central Queensland University, told AFP that it was possible for all the passengers on the Airbus to leave the plane unharmed because airlines regularly have their crew members practice these types of scenarios.

“Airlines are expected to be able to get all passengers and crew off a plane within 90 seconds. The crew trains quite regularly for events in simulations and it is a complicated process which, as we have seen, was carried out flawlessly,” he said.

“However, a key component here was that no one tried to grab their luggage.”

As for the collision, Drury said he could only speculate about what might have gone wrong.

“Human error will probably be found as a contributing cause (to the collision).”