Pilot of Korean Air in near-miss with SIA to be interviewed
SOUTH Korea's Ministry of Transport will today interview a Korean Air pilot, whose plane almost crashed into a Singapore Airlines (SIA) jet on a runway of Incheon International Airport last week, to find out how the near-miss had come to pass, Korean media reported.
The interview with the pilot of KE929 - which was carrying 188 people on Thursday evening when it nearly hit SQ16, which had 186 people on board - comes two days after he returned from Russia, reported the Kyunghyang Shinmun.
The San Francisco-bound SQ16 had to make an emergency stop during takeoff to avert a crash with the St Petersburg-bound KE929, which had taxied into its path without permission, reported the Korea IT Times.
When it received instructions from the airport's control tower to stop immediately, SQ16 was travelling between 90kmh and 100kmh and was about 1.7km from the other plane.
The braking caused the Boeing 777-300ER to shred a number of its tires, resulting in its departure being delayed for 19 hours, SIA said in a statement.
No one was injured on both planes, and KE929, which uses an Airbus A330-200, left about 100 minutes later in a normal takeoff.
A Transport Ministry official told Kyunghyang preliminary investigations showed that KE929 had glided over the stop line by 10m in the incident, although its fuselage remained behind the line.
According to the official, there was a high possibility that the seasoned pilot, who has clocked more than 19,000 flight hours, had "assessed the situation wrongly and misread instructions".
Kyunghyang pointed out that flights at the airport usually take off into a headwind, and the pilot and his co-pilot might have misread the wind direction when they pulled off from the terminal.
The official said it was fortunate that, in the short time it took for the plane to reach the runway, a controller had reacted and rectified a mistake.
Had the collision happened, it would have been a dire disaster, said the newspaper.