Tokyo Airport Collision disrupts Travel Plans: Over 300 Flights Canceled

Tokyo, January 03,2024 – A collision between a Japan Coast Guard aircraft and a Japan Airlines passenger plane at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Tuesday evening has resulted in the cancellation of over 300 flights, affecting more than 40,000 passengers.

The incident forced the temporary closure of all runways at Haneda Airport for several hours on Tuesday evening, leading to the cancellation of 226 flights to and from the airport. Despite the reopening of three runways on Wednesday, about 100 additional flights are expected to be canceled, disrupting the travel plans of approximately 19,000 passengers.

The collision occurred at around 6 p.m. local time on Tuesday when Japan Airlines (JAL) Flight 516, an Airbus A-350 arriving from New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido Prefecture, collided with a Coast Guard flight, MA-722, a Bombardier Dash-8, while landing on Haneda’s C-runway. Both aircraft caught fire as a result of the impact.

Television footage showed a significant burst of fire erupting from the JAL plane as it taxied on the runway, with the blaze eventually engulfing the aircraft. Tragically, five of the six crew members aboard the Coast Guard aircraft were confirmed dead, while the captain, who managed to escape earlier, sustained severe injuries.

The Coast Guard plane, en route to transport relief goods for areas in Niigata Prefecture affected by recent earthquakes, was taxiing on the runway when the collision occurred.

All 367 passengers and 12 crew members on board the JAL flight were able to evacuate from the airplane while it was on fire, with no reported life-threatening injuries. The Tokyo Fire Department worked for over eight hours to extinguish the fire following the crash.

Investigations into the cause of the accident have begun, with the Japan Transport Safety Board taking charge of examining the wreckage of the aircraft. Initial reports suggest that air traffic control had granted permission for the passenger plane to land before the crash, instructing the coast guard aircraft to “hold short of the runway.”

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