Back Stories » Vietnam » Aviation Authorities Launch Probe Into VNA Flight That Landed on Under-Construction Runway

Fortunately the aircraft landed without any problem. All members of the crew and passengers were safe.

According to Dan Tri, on April 29 during the long holiday, a Vietnam Airlines airplane landed on the wrong runway at Cam Ranh Airport in Khanh Hoa Airport. The flight, coded VN7344, took off from Saigon at 2pm, carrying 203 passengers and seven crew members.

The new source elaborated that the airport currently has one operational runway while two others are under construction. Runway No. 2, on which VN7344 landed, will only start servicing flights this coming June or July, thus there is still a lot of construction material in the vicinity of the runway.

An aviation expert and ex-pilot told Nguoi Lao Dong that while the plane landed smoothly, the incident could have resulted in graver consequences had the runway been obstructed by debris. These objects might have bounced off when the aircraft passed through, damaging engines or worse, causing the plane to veer off the runway.

He believes that the runway confusion was due to oversight by the pilot and copilot as well as airport authorities.

The flight was commandeered by an American pilot and a Vietnamese copilot, both of whom are relatively new hires by Vietnam Airlines. While they might have the necessary qualifications to fly, they may lack experience in situations involving lesser-known airports. The expert added that if had they noticed the wrong runway, they could have taken off and done another landing.

Secondly, Cam Ranh Airport was also to blame for not indicating clearly that the runway is still under construction. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s runway code, closed runways must be marked with a cross and red lights to caution pilots. Cam Ranh’s runway No. 2 has neither.

At the moment, the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam has suspended both the flight’s crew and the Cam Ranh Airport’s air traffic controller team that was involved to carry out an investigation into the incident.

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