Asiana jet erroneously attempts takeoff on taxiway

Posted on : 2007-05-16 15:08 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Control tower aborts takeoff in nick of time; investigation underway

It was recently revealed that an Asiana Airlines Boeing 737-500 attempted to take off on a taxiway last month, mistaking it for the runway.

According to the Ministry of Construction and Transportation and Asiana Airlines, on April 25, Asiana Airlines Flight 8814, bound for Seoul from Busan’s Gimhae Airport with 118 passengers on board, mistakenly positioned itself for takeoff on a taxiway rather than the assigned runway. The plane accelerated to speeds up to 136 km/hr before screeching to a halt after emergency orders from the control tower.

Taxiways are used only for airplanes to travel from the gate to the runway and vice versa, or for takeoff of planes that do not require a long tarmac, such as military planes. At Gimhae, the taxiway is 2,743 meters long, around 500 meters shorter than an ordinary runway.

The incident could have resulted in a catastrophe if the airplane had hit an obstacle or another plane. On October 31, 2000, Singapore Airlines Flight 006, a Boeing 747-400 bound for Los Angeles, accidentally took off from Taiwan’s Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport on a closed runway being used as a taxiway and collided with construction equipment, killing 83 of the 179 persons aboard.

An Asiana Airlines official, asking to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, said, "If the pilot of the airplane had thought that he was on an ordinary tarmac and if there had not been a control tower warning, it could have overrun the tarmac and faced disaster."

The Construction and Transportation Ministry said that it is currently conducting an investigation to determine responsibility for the incident, adding that it could hold the control tower responsible for the incident due to the fact that it allegedly did not realize the plane was headed in the wrong direction until the plane reached speeds of 100 km/hr.

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