China / Society

Dense fog forces emergency landing in E China

By Ma Danning ( Updated: 2014-10-29 17:22

Dense smog over Beijing forced a China Eastern Airline jet carrying nearly 200 passengers into an emergency landing 538km away in Qingdao after a terrifying race against time and the plane's fuel reserves, the Changjiang Times reported Wednesday.

Flight MU750 from Tokyo's Asahikawa Airport on Saturday was forced to circle for 46 minutes to exhaust its fuel in order to make the suspenseful landing early Sunday morning at Qingdao Liuting International Airport.

The flight, originally scheduled for landing in Beijing at 10pm, had a delayed departure for unreported reasons. By the time the plane entered Beijing air space at 10:30 pm, and prepared for landing at an altitude of 1,000 meters, air quality was so poor safety officials qualified the situation as a "blind" landing and called it off.

At the time, according to air quality data, Beijing's PM2.5 concentration topped 400 micrograms per cubic meters, and visibility at Beijing Capital International Airport was less than 150 meters, breaching the minimum horizontal visibility limits the airport requires landings.

The plane's pilots then requested a landing in Jinan International Airport, the flight's alternative airport, which is located in East China's coastal province of Shandong and 360 kilometers away from Beijing Capital International Airport. By 11:01 am, the plane rose to 5,000 meters and began to head south.

On the way to Jinan, however, the airport announced it had run out of space due to the amount of planes diverted from Beijing. Airport offiocials said they could only accept flights with the minimum fuel level required for emergency landings.

MU750 crew then turned southeast to Qingdao Liuting International Airport, 292 km away to seek a landing as quickly as possible.

On the way to Qingdao, MU750 learn that airports in Qingdao, Jinan and Dalian would only allow flights with the minimum fuel amount required for emergency landings. Qingdao air controllers demanded MU750 to stay in Beijing's air zone.

MU750 circled for a couple of minutes to exhaust the fuel, and eventually met the emergency landing standard and landed at Qingdao Liuting International Airport at 12:16 am. Its leftover fuel was 1,520 kilograms, which would have allowed the plane to fly another half an hour.

Russian Aeroflot flight SU200 circled over Beijing for 90 minutes on early Friday waiting for an expected cold front to disperse the heavy smog. It managed to land at 2:10 am on Saturday at Beijing Capital International Airport.


Dense fog forces emergency landing in E China
Dense fog forces emergency landing in E China

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