Tragic Collision at Tokyo Haneda Airport Sparks Global Airport Safety Review

Tragic Collision at Tokyo Haneda Airport Sparks Global Airport Safety Review

Tuesday's collision at Tokyo Haneda Airport between a Japan Coast Guard de Havilland Dash 8 and a landing Japan Airlines (JAL) Airbus A350 has reignited concerns about ground incursions at airports worldwide, reminiscent of last year's string of similar incidents.

In the tragic incident, five out of six Coast Guard personnel onboard the Dash 8 lost their lives when the aircraft, positioned on the runway for takeoff, collided with the JAL Airbus A350-900. The Airbus, arriving from Sapporo's New Chitose Airport, burst into flames within seconds of impact. Miraculously, all 367 passengers and 12 crewmembers managed to evacuate the aircraft safely.

While the precise circumstances of the crash remain unknown, Airbus has pledged to provide technical assistance to the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) of France and the Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB), both leading the investigation. The manufacturer will dispatch a team of specialists to Japan to aid the authorities. JAL reported that air traffic controllers at Haneda had granted clearance for the A350's landing, and the airline revealed a malfunction in the cabin announcement system during the evacuation.

This incident follows global scrutiny of ground incursions in the aviation sector, with various authorities taking measures to enhance runway safety. Last year, the FAA in the U.S. issued a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) after a series of serious runway near-collisions. The agency initiated a safety review team, organized a runway safety summit, re-evaluated data for incursions, and allocated over $100 million in grants to airports to mitigate such occurrences.

This story has been updated on January 3 to include additional information released by Japan Airlines about the accident.

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