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Emergency on smog-diverted Chinese plane as two airports refuse landing

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Emergency on smog-diverted Chinese plane as two airports refuse landing

Old 29th Oct 2014, 06:26
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Emergency on smog-diverted Chinese plane as two airports refuse landing

Article from SCMP. Link below text.

Not exactly stellar reporting, I know, but the story does illuminate a pervasive set of problems that are not going to go away...

Emergency on smog-diverted Chinese plane as two airports refuse landing

Chris Luo

Pilots of a Beijing-bound China Eastern Airlines flight declared an emergency when smog forced the plane to divert and it was refused permission to land by two alternative airports.

Flight MU750 from Asahikawa, Japan was unable to land in Beijing on Saturday evening due to low visibility caused by heavy air pollution that had enveloped the city.

The pilots of the plane, an Airbus A321 carrying nearly 200 passengers, then requested to divert to Jinan and Qingdao airports in neighbouring Shandong province. But the request was denied by local air control, who said the airports could not allow the plane to land unless its fuel was running low, Changjiang Commercial News reported.

The plane was then forced to keep circling in the air east of Beijing. It was finally permitted to land at Qingdao Liuting International Airport when its fuel ran low after circling in the air for 40 minutes. The pilots declared an emergency as the plane flew towards Qingdao, the report said.

Flight tracking application shows MU750 circled in the air east of Beijing before it was permitted to land at Qingdao airport. When the plane finally touched the ground at Qingdao airport after midnight, it only had enough fuel to sustain flying for another half an hour, the report said.

The report cited aviation experts as saying “the amount wouldn’t be enough for it to make a second landing attempt”.

Qingdao airport did not respond to enquires for comment.

China Eastern Airlines denied any abnormal situation had occurred during the flight when contacted by the South China Morning Post on Wednesday.

A spokesman confirmed the plane was diverted because of “dramatic weather conditions” but said “the cabin crew closely following standard procedures” and “made landing safely at a nearby alternative airport.”

The spokesman said that he was not authorised to elaborate on other details mentioned in the report.

The report has drawn criticism from members of the public who accused air traffic control of neglecting passenger safety.

The aviation channel of news portal Sina.com.cn said Jinan and Qingdao airports would only grant MU750 landing permission on the condition it was running low on fuel because they were already fully occupied at the time. Under civil aviation procedure they could only accept landing requests from flights that were running low on petrol.

Heavy air pollution in Beijing and its surrounding areas severely disrupted flights to and from the city at the weekend when the city’s Air Quality Index surged to 470, or “severely polluted” on Saturday night.

Visibility was down to 200 metres at Beijing Capital International Airport, making it difficult for aircraft to land safely and forcing several flights to land at nearby alternative airports.

Some 60 flights to Beijing were diverted in a two-hour period from 11pm on Saturday.

Aeroflot flight 200 from Moscow circled for 90 minutes above Beijing as it waited for a cold front to disperse smog and raise visibility levels. Meanwhile, Hainan Airlines flight 7602 from Shanghai circled over Beijing for 90 minutes on Saturday night waiting for the smog to disperse and eventually had to divert to Jinan when its fuel ran low.

Emergency on smog-diverted Chinese plane as two airports refuse landing | South China Morning Post
hkgmjq is offline  
Old 29th Oct 2014, 07:26
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Get used to it! (Both smog and "interesting" air traffic controlling)
I had to basically tell the ATC at Shanghai that I was doing a circuit to a landing NOW after 40 mins or so of vectoring around and being till to change frequency every time we asked how long the holding would be. (Good WX, no great amount of traffic seen)
Another few minutes getting stuffed around and it would have been a declared emergency as well.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 03:04
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Airports filed as alternates suddenly refusing incoming traffic, along with unpublished NOTAMS and charts being treated as state secrets, are all part of the mainland's charm.

For $#!?$ and giggles, pay attention the phrasing in Chinese ATC when they need you to start flying in circles. Very rarely will you be given a "hold" instruction. The routine command is to "make orbit", as a holding pattern requires an EFC time.

While controllers here have occasionally stepped up and helped me out when needed, how this mess could possibly be found in compliance with ICAO is beyond me.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 23:33
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Well in that case I was low on fuel!

Sure I could lose a bit after landing if I had to ;-)
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Old 1st Nov 2014, 10:44
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I always politely refused the "orbit" clearances...
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Old 1st Nov 2014, 11:45
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It might be quicker to just dump down to emergency fuel.....
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Old 1st Nov 2014, 13:29
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It might be quicker to just dump down to emergency fuel.....
In an A321?
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Old 1st Nov 2014, 13:40
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It might be quicker to just dump down to emergency fuel.....
You mean, like, make the situation even worse

Hopefully, that was meant to be funny/sarcastic
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Old 2nd Nov 2014, 02:54
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We recently had an aircraft go around in HKG due weather and divert to XMN in China. When requested by ATC which airport they were diverting to they were advised that XMN would not accept them. A mayday call was placed as China don't understand the PAN call and aircraft diverted. Upon arrival, numerous staff arrived at the aircraft to question the pilot about his fuel state.

Unfortunately once you arrive at these airports, immigration won't let any staff access the aircraft to assist with it turnaround back to the original destination. Leaving the aircraft to sit for hours while the relevant airline ops organises bureaucratic clearances for it's departure.

China has a belief that all airports that are situated within the capital of the province are primary airports and not to be used as alternates??!! Secondary airports within he province can be........unfortunately international flights rarely carry documentation for these airports and the airports don't have the resources to deal with international flights.

Last edited by KABOY; 2nd Nov 2014 at 04:52.
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Old 2nd Nov 2014, 12:16
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Yet another reason why expat captains are getting the big bucks. The question is are they getting enough to put up with this nonsense?
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Old 2nd Nov 2014, 16:45
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Oceanic815 -
I always politely refused the "orbit" clearances...
What does one say to ATC to politely refuse? "Unable?"
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Old 2nd Nov 2014, 17:11
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I hereby declare the death of irony on PPRuNe.....
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Old 2nd Nov 2014, 18:03
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I'm not sure how it works these days, but… Better to be on the ground and argue the case in safety than be in the air wishing you were on the ground and pissing your pants.

I once had occasion to be flying a biz-jet towards a VIP field that was due to close at XX.ZZ. The pax were on a high power trip. Naturally, with such pax, we were late, but only a couple of minutes. We radioed ahead with our ETA and were told the airfield would be closed to G/A traffic. We ascertained it was still open for scheduled traffic, and was available if we declared an emergency. So we did, fuel, and landed. The local goons met the a/c and inspected the fuel gauges. They said we had enough to divert. We asked to see their ATPL licences. Nothing. Matter closed. We were on the ground in the place of pax wishes and it was not our concern. I wonder? Who's going to blow your balls
off? They will for sure if you run out of motion lotion due to silly political/military diversion.
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