Air China, the country’s biggest airline by market value, has confirmed that one of its passenger jets flew in the wrong direction after taking off from the airport in Chengdu, Sichuan province.
The airline has issued an internal emergency notice regarding flight safety after the incident that had not been revealed to the public, ordering all of its pilots and cabin crew to do their job well and cross-check tower instructions in the future, news website The Paper reports, citing an unnamed person who is knowledgeable about the matter.
The incident involved Air China Flight CA4401, which was bound for Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, on Sunday.
The control tower of the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport told the plane to turn left after take-off, but the chief pilot apparently didn’t understand the instruction and the aircraft was seen turning right soon after it left the ground, the source said.
As a result, the plane was seen flying over downtown Chengdu, although it was not supposed to, but the pilot shifted to the right course a moment later and continued with the flight, the Central News Agency reported.
In its internal notice, Air China described the incident as an extremely unsafe take-off.
Flying in the wrong direction is very dangerous because the plane could crash into mountains or collide with other aircraft.
Chengdu is the country’s fourth busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic, next only to those in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
In 1983, a Korean Air Lines flight from New York City to Seoul was shot down by a Soviet Air Force interceptor after it flew into Soviet airspace by mistake, resulting in the deaths of all 269 passengers and crew aboard.
China Eastern planes in Shanghai collision scare (Oct. 12, 2016)
– Contact us at [email protected]