777, A320 Almost Meet (Badly) On Runway
So, we have to wonder what the Japan Airlines pilot told his passengers after he slammed on the Boeing 777's thrust reversers and swerved onto a taxiway about 3,000 feet into his takeoff roll at New Chitose Airport on the Japanese island of Hokkaido last Jan. 22. The Mainichi daily news reported the takeoff was aborted (at the screaming insistence of an air traffic controller) because no clearance was issued and an All Nippon Airways A320 had just landed at the opposite end of the 10,000-foot runway. "I was preoccupied with preparations for takeoff and failed to confirm whether my plane was cleared. I thought no other aircraft was ahead of us," the unidentified captain told Japanese authorities, who only released their report a week ago. New Chitose has parallel runways and one is normally used for takeoffs and the other for landings. However, it was snowing that night and one runway was closed for snow removal. The JAL flight, with 201 people aboard, had been ordered to hold short. Luckily, the tower controller was on the ball when the 777 started to move. "Stop, you're not cleared for takeoff, yet!" he yelled. The two jets missed each other by about 3,000 feet and the JAL flight took off for Tokyo about 10 minutes later.