A Vietnam Airlines A321 with over 200 passengers onboard landed on a wrong, unfinished runway. Civil aviation authorities are now questioning how and why.
From the Telegraph:
Vietnam Airlines Flight VN7344 from Ho Chi Minh City touched down on a runway still under construction and soon to be Nha Trang Cam Ranh International’s second landing strip. The runway is not yet connected to the airport and it remains unclear how the carrier will retrieve the stranded Airbus A321.
During landing, the aircraft’s engines sucked in “a number of foreign objects from the runway surface”, according to the Aviation Herald, and suffered minor damage.
The aircraft landed parallel to Cam Ranh’s single operational runway. The second runway is still under construction and slated to open up later this year.
This incident occurred last Sunday under clear weather conditions. Pending investigation, the crew on the flight has been suspended.
Under International Civil Aviation Organization (IACO) protocol, unfinished or improper runways should be marked with a large lit “X” to alert pilots to avoid it. It is not clear whether such a marker was present on the unfinished runway.
This is certainly not the first time a flight crew landed on the wrong runway. Even so, I’m so thankful that no passengers were injured. It is another reminder, however, that attention to detail is critical and the consequences could have been far more dire.