July 13, 2024

Japan to Enhance Airport Safety with New Takeoff and Landing Coordinator

Japan’s Transport Ministry is introducing a new control tower role to boost safety at major airports, following a fatal collision at Haneda Airport. The initiative aims to support air traffic controllers and prevent runway collisions.


Photo Source:CNN

In a significant move to enhance aviation safety, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism is creating a new role in airport control towers to support air traffic controllers. This initiative follows a tragic collision at Haneda Airport in January involving a Japan Airlines passenger plane and a Japan Coast Guard aircraft, which highlighted the need for improved safety measures.

The newly introduced role, takeoff and landing coordinator, will assist air traffic controllers by managing tasks currently handled by them, such as liaising with nearby control towers and other controllers. This additional support will help reduce the workload of air traffic controllers, enabling them to focus more on critical tasks and improve safety during takeoff and landing operations. The presence of a coordinator aims to streamline operations within the control tower, ensuring smoother communication and decision-making processes.

An expert panel and various aviation-related organizations have been involved in discussions to develop these preventive measures. Their collective expertise has contributed to designing a role that will enhance the overall efficiency and safety of airport operations. By having a dedicated coordinator, the control tower’s ability to manage traffic will be significantly strengthened, reducing the risk of runway collisions.

In addition to creating the new coordinator role, the ministry plans to upgrade the current runway incursion detection system to a two-level alert system. The existing system, which visually highlights runway and aircraft incursions, will be enhanced with audible alarms. This improvement will provide air traffic controllers with more immediate and clear warnings about potential conflicts on the runway.

Photo Source: PM Today

When another aircraft enters the runway that a plane scheduled to land is approaching, the upgraded system will display a yellow alert for the runway and a red alert for the aircraft. If a collision becomes imminent, the system will switch to a stronger warning sound and display, urging controllers to give the approaching aircraft a go-around order. This last-minute order will instruct the pilot to abort and redo the landing, thereby averting potential accidents.

These measures, set to be announced on June 24, reflect the ministry’s proactive approach to strengthening air traffic control. By enhancing the support system within control towers and upgrading detection technologies, Japan aims to ensure the safety of both passengers and crew, preventing future incidents similar to the one at Haneda Airport.

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