Japan has implemented heightened air traffic control measures following a tragic collision at Tokyo’s main airport on January 2, where a Japan Airlines passenger jet crashed into a coast guard aircraft at Haneda Airport, resulting in five deaths. The emergency safety protocols, introduced nationwide by the transport ministry, includes constant monitoring of a system alerting control towers to runway incursions. To prevent misunderstandings, controllers are prohibited from informing planes of their position in the take-off queue.
Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito emphasized the need to restore public confidence in aviation as a mode of public transport. An expert panel will be established by the ministry to explore additional safety requirements, with recommendations expected this week.
A transcript of communications revealed that the JAL plane was cleared to land, while the coast guard plane was instructed to halt before the runway. The coast guard pilot, the sole survivor, believed he had clearance to move onto the runway, leading to a 40-second standstill before the collision.
Following the incident, flight operations have since resumed, with increased staffing at the control tower. At Haneda, a dedicated staff member continuously monitors the warning system since the weekend.
The move to enhance air traffic control comes as a response to improving safety in the aftermath of the Haneda collision. The focus is not only on learning from the incident but also on proactively bolstering public confidence in the aviation industry.
The aviation landscape in Japan has witnessed at least 23 reported accidents risking runway collisions from 2013 to 2023, with air traffic control errors suspected in five cases. The implementation of stringent measures underscores the government’s commitment to preventing future mishaps and ensuring passenger safety.
As the ministry continues to scrutinize ways to enhance safety, the emphasis remains on fostering an aviation environment where passengers and the public can trust the reliability and security of air travel. Japan’s dedication to transparency, thorough investigation, and ongoing improvement serves as a model for bolstering global aviation safety standards. Japan’s swift response to the Haneda collision underscores its commitment to bolstering aviation safety. As the nation implements rigorous measures, it proactively works towards ensuring public’s confidence in the aviation industry.