Delta pilot aborts takeoff to avoid another aircraft

A Delta Air Lines pilot avoided what could otherwise have been a catastrophic incident when he aborted takeoff after spotting an aircraft entering the runway at the Pudong airport.

A QUICK-THINKING Delta Air Lines pilot avoided what could otherwise have been a catastrophic incident when he aborted takeoff after spotting a Japan Airlines aircraft entering the runway at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai yesterday.

Flight DL582, an Airbus 350, scheduled to fly from Shanghai to Detroit, was forced to abort takeoff around noon “due to a possible runway incursion,” Delta said in a statement. No passengers were injured and the aircraft completed inspections afterward, it said.

The East China Regional Administration of the Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement that a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 entered the end of the 34L runway at the Pudong airport when the Delta aircraft was taxiing for takeoff on the same runway.

The Shanghai Fire Control Bureau said on its official Weibo account that its fire truck sprayed water onto the landing gear to prevent fire. The tires of the jet were later replaced.

A post on the Chinese social media site Weibo claimed that the nose of the aircraft was almost up when the pilot suddenly aborted takeoff. The post said passengers on board were told that the aircraft would return to the boarding gate.

The flight, scheduled to take off at 11:40am, was later canceled. A Delta customer service staff said the flight had been rescheduled for today. Passengers were told they could take alternate flights or travel today.

The civil aviation authorities are investigating the incident, and no official statement has been released.

An industry insider, who claimed anonymity, said the air traffic controller had ordered the Japan Airlines’ aircraft to wait at the R6 taxiway. 

The flight crew asked to run across the 34L runway, but the controller failed to stop them on time. The sharp-eyed Delta pilot saw the incursion and aborted the takeoff.

Japan Airlines has a history of failing to follow the ATC’s instructions. A report on the official website of the East China Civil Aviation Administration said the airlines’ Boeing 787 crew failed to follow the instructions of ATC at the Pudong airport five times between May and September 2017.

It was not known how many passengers were on board but a Boeing 787 can carry 375 passengers while an Airbus 350 can carry 306 passengers.

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