Tokyo’s Haneda airport has reopened the runway a week after a fatal collision between a Japan Airlines airliner and a coast guard aircraft. The collision occurred when JAL Flight 516 landed right behind the coast guard aircraft preparing for takeoff on the same runway, both engulfed in flames. All occupants of the JAL’s Airbus A350-900 airliner safely evacuated in 18 minutes, while the coast guard crew suffered casualties.
The airport had remained partially closed for investigation, cleanup, and repairs but has now reopened for full operations. The collision caused more than 1,200 flights to be canceled, affecting about 200,000 passengers during the New Year holiday period. The investigation is focusing on what caused the coast guard flight crew to believe they had clearance for takeoff, as well as potential negligence by traffic control staff.
The Haneda airport traffic control has added a new position specifically assigned to monitor the runway to enhance safety measures. A team from the Japan Transport Safety Board is conducting interviews and analyzing flight data and voice recorders to determine the cause of the collision.