China’s aviation regulator has punished 13 air traffic control officials for a near collision at Shanghai’s Hongqiao airport this month when a passenger jet taxied in front of another plane that was taking off.
Aviation accidents have been on the decline in China in recent years, but the near-miss on Oct. 11 involving two China Eastern Airbus jets highlights the risks in managing the country’s increasingly crowded skies and airports as more and more Chinese take to traveling.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the “serious” incident was a result of errors made by the air traffic controllers. It issued punishments to 13 officials that included warnings, demerits, sacking and suspension of various air traffic control licences, CAAC said.
The pilot of the plane taking off, an A320 bound for Tianjin, was given a reward for “successfully resolving the crisis”, the CAAC said on its website. The Shanghai Daily reported last week that the A320 was already going over 200 kph down the runway when the pilot spotted the other plane about to taxi across its path. He hit the throttle and went airborne.
The other plane, an A330, had just landed, state media has reported. In January, two China Eastern planes at Hongqiao airport clipped wings, state media reported.