Air Traffic Controllers at Itami Airport Mistakenly Gave Landing Permission; Plane Waiting on Runway Avoided Disaster

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
An aerial view of Itami Airport.

Air traffic controllers at Itami Airport in Osaka Prefecture on Monday mistakenly gave landing permission to an aircraft while another aircraft, which was due to take off, was waiting on the runway, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has revealed. The pilot of the airplane on the runway noticed the mistake and contacted air traffic control. Landing permission was withdrawn, averting a possible disaster.

The ministry has urged air traffic controllers to thoroughly check their safety procedures, as it could broadly affect air safety.

According to the ministry, an air traffic controller gave landing permission to Japan Airlines Flight 2088, heading to Itami Airport from Okinawa, before giving permission for takeoff to JAL Flight 2215, bound for Sendai airport, which was still waiting on the runway. The pilot of Flight 2215, who heard the instructions, immediately informed air traffic control that the airplane was still on the runway. Air traffic control then withdrew landing permission for Flight 2088.