Date
24 July 2017
Shenzhen Airlines Flight ZH-9041 flew below the minimum required altitude over Lantau island, and was only several hundred feet above the Big Buddha statue. Photos: Aviation Herald, Bloomberg
Shenzhen Airlines Flight ZH-9041 flew below the minimum required altitude over Lantau island, and was only several hundred feet above the Big Buddha statue. Photos: Aviation Herald, Bloomberg

Shenzhen Airlines suspends pilot over Lantau incident

Shenzhen Airlines has suspended a pilot who violated standard procedures after aborting a landing at the Hong Kong International Airport last month.

But the Civil Aviation Department, who met with representatives of the airline on Tuesday to discuss the June 26 incident, stressed that the pilot’s action did not pose any risk of collision with other aircraft or structures, including the Big Buddha on Lantau island, news website hk01.com reports.

The airline told Hong Kong aviation officials that the pilot had mistakenly picked up instructions from the control tower intended for the pilot of another flight, which led to the deviation from the standard flight path.

According to a report from the Aviation Herald, Flight ZH-9041, which was traveling from Jinjiang in Fujian province to Hong Kong, steered to the right and climbed into the sky after aborting a landing, instead of turning left as standard procedures required to avoid the mountains on Lantau.

The aircraft flew above Lantau at 3,000 feet, which was below the minimum required altitude and lower than the summit of Lantau Peak which was at 3,066 feet. It was only several hundred feet above the Big Buddha statue, which stands at 2,519 feet.

Shenzhen Airlines has promised to share the lessons of the incident with its crew and enhance pilot training to ensure the safety of all flights to and from Hong Kong, Apple Daily reported.

Based on a flight recording obtained by hk01.com, it was learned that the two pilots of the Shenzhen Airlines flight were communicating with the control tower during the incident.

According to experienced pilots, communications on the landing and go-around procedures should be handled by the same pilot to avoid confusion.

The fact that two pilots spoke to the control tower within short intervals suggested that the cockpit was chaotic at the time.

“Any pilot would normally avoid steering a flight toward a mountain,” an aviation veteran familiar with air traffic control was quoted as saying.

– Contact us at [email protected]

EL/AC/CG

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe