Pilots sacked after take-off error
Two Hong Kong Airlines pilots have been dismissed after trying to take off from a taxiway rather than the main runway at the city’s airport.
According to the Taipei Times, the pair, an Indonesian captain and Argentinian co-pilot, were only stopped by a watchful air traffic controller who noticed them speeding on the taxiway and advised them to stop.
The Boeing 737 was carrying 122 passengers, the report said.
Indra Santrianto, an Indonesian, told his company he was merely travelling at speed on a taxiway on his way to the north runway and that air traffic controllers had mistaken his approach for an attempted take-off.
However, the two were fired after an investigation by Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department, which suggested improvements to lighting and marking at the airport.
Taxiways at Hong Kong International Airport run the length of the runways but are narrower, have distinctive green lighting and, unlike runways, no center lighting.
The flight, bound for Cheongju in South Korea from Hong Kong International Airport, took off after the aborted attempt on September 13.
There have been two previous incidents involving planes attempting to take off from taxiways rather than runways at Hong Kong’s 11-year-old international airport.
Hong Kong Airlines, which with sister airline Hong Kong Express flies to 30 cities across Asia, fired a number of senior expatriate pilots early this year.