Tokyo’s Haneda Airport resumes flights after firey Japan Airlines crash

Flights Resume at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport Following Runway Disaster

Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) has resumed operations after a tragic runway accident that resulted in the death of five Japanese service members and the destruction of two aircraft. The incident occurred when Japan Airlines Flight 516, an Airbus A350-900 arriving from Sapporo, collided with a Japanese coast guard aircraft on the airfield. Fortunately, all 379 passengers and crew members, including eight infants, survived the accident by safely evacuating the aircraft.

According to Reuters, 17 passengers were transported for medical assessment or treatment following the incident. The A350 caught fire as it continued down the runway, eventually becoming fully engulfed in flames. The coast guard aircraft, a De Havilland Canada Dash 8, was en route to Niigata as part of relief efforts following a recent earthquake. Five out of six crew members on board the Dash 8 were killed, while the condition of the sixth crew member was not immediately known.

The runway collision caused numerous flight delays and cancellations at Haneda Airport, with some inbound flights being diverted to other airports. Flights resumed later in the evening, but the runway where the crash occurred remained closed. Haneda Airport features four runways.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but early reports suggest that the A350 landed on the runway where the Dash 8 was preparing for takeoff. Authorities are analyzing communications between air traffic control officials and the two aircraft to determine the exact circumstances leading to the collision.

Japan Airlines received praise for its swift and successful evacuation of all passengers and crew members. Video footage from the incident shows passengers exiting the plane using emergency slides without stopping to retrieve their luggage, which is often a concern during emergencies. Paul Hayes, the director of air safety at Ascend by Cirium, an aviation consultancy based in the U.K., described it as a miracle that all passengers were able to safely evacuate the aircraft.

Haneda Airport is one of two airports serving Tokyo and is closer to the city than Narita International Airport (NRT). This incident appears to be the first major accident involving an Airbus A350 since the aircraft entered service in 2015. Airbus has delivered over 570 A350 aircraft to customers worldwide as of November 2021. The specific A350 involved in the collision, with the tail number JA13XJ, was delivered to Japan Airlines just a month prior to the accident.

Japan Airlines currently operates 16 A350-900s, with two more on order. The airline has also recently introduced the longer A350-1000 variant, which will serve as its flagship aircraft and feature a new onboard product. Airbus has dispatched a team to Japan to assist with the investigation.

In conclusion, the runway disaster at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport has caused significant disruption to flight operations. However, the successful evacuation of all passengers and crew members from the involved aircraft is commendable. As investigations continue, the aviation industry will closely examine the circumstances leading to the collision to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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