Tokyo, January 08, 2024, After a week of the terrible accident between a Japan Airlines (JAL) passenger airplane and a Japan Coast Guard plane, Haneda Airport in Tokyo has reopened for Flights. Over 1,200 aircraft and over 200,000 people were impacted by the coastal runway closure over the busy New Year holiday season, which was thought to be the result of a human error.
Collision and Immediate Aftermath
The collision occurred on January 2, when JAL Flight 516, carrying 379 passengers and crew, landed exact behind the coast guard aircraft which was preparing for takeoff on the same seaside runway. Post collision both aircraft caught fire, but all passengers of the JAL Airbus A350-900 safely evacuated within 18 minutes. Tragically, the captain of the coast guard’s smaller Bombardier Dash-8 sustained burns, and the five crew members lost their lives.
Termination and Refunds
Three of Haneda Airport’s four runways were closed immediately after the incident occured, while the fourth runway was closed for repairs, debris removal, and investigation. Over 1,200 flights were canceled as a result of the shutdown, affecting thousands of travelers over the New Year’s holiday. The airport, which is normally a hive of activity, had delays and disturbances.
Reopening of Runway C
The reopening of Runway C is a significant step toward the airport’s return to normal operations. The repaired runway now allows flights to resume, bringing relief to both travelers and the aviation industry. However, the collision’s effects—which took a lot of attention—are still being felt.
Mourning and Investigations
At the coast guard’s Haneda base, colleagues of the five flight crew members lined up and saluted to mourn their deaths as vehicles carrying their bodies drove past. The victims’ bodies were set to return to their families following police autopsies, conducted as part of a separate investigation into possible professional negligence.
Impact on Passengers and Airlines
The incident reason to a multiple flight cancellations, disrupting the travel plans of more than 200,000 passengers during what should have been a festive holiday season. On reoening day, the airport, crowded with passengers. All scheduled flights have resumed, except for 22 JAL flights canceled through Tuesday.
Investigation Focus and Safety Measures
The investigation into the collision is now centering on communication issues between the coast guard flight crew and the traffic control staff. While the transcript shows no clear confirmation between them, the coast guard crew seemingly believed they had clearance for takeoff. The airport’s traffic control is implementing additional safety measures, including a dedicated position to monitor the runway.
The Role of the Japan Transport Safety Board
The Japan Transport Safety Board staff is working on the probe full time. The six-person team has obtained voice recorders and flight data from both flights in addition to interviewing JAL flight crew members. These important pieces of evidence will be very important in figuring out the exact sequence of events that led up to the crash.
Megan Davies is a reporter for White Pine Tribune. After graduating from the University of Toronto, Megan got an internship at the CBC News and worked as a reporter and editor. Megan has also worked as a reporter for Global Toronto. Megan covers economy and community events for White Pine Tribune.