On July 5 (Thursday), 2012, an Airbus A319-112, registered B2332, operated by China
Eastern Airlines Co., Ltd., was taxiing toward Runway 18 at Naha Airport in order to depart for Shanghai (Pudong) Airport as the scheduled Flight 2046 of the company. Meanwhile, an Airbus A320-214, registered JA01AJ, operated by Air Asia Japan Co., Ltd., was on the final approach after receiving a landing clearance for Runway 18 at Naha Airport during the flight test required before commencing commercial transport services.
Although an air traffic controller instructed B2332 to hold short of the runway, the aircraft entered the runway; as a result, JA01AJ made a go-around following the instructions from the air traffic controller.
There were 27 people on board B2332, consisting of a Pilot in Command (PIC), nine other crewmembers and 17 passengers, while 38 people on board JA01AJ, consisting of a PIC, five other crewmembers and 32 personnel involved with the flight test. No one was injured and no damage was sustained on either aircraft.
It is highly probable that this serious incident occurred because the departing aircraft
(B2332) made an incursion onto the runway despite being instructed to hold short of the runway, causing the arriving aircraft (JA01AJ), which had already been cleared to land, to attempt to land on the same runway.
It is highly probable that B2332 entered the runway because the flight crewmembers of the aircraft misheard and misunderstood the instruction to hold short of the runway as an instruction to hold on the runway and could not find the arriving aircraft, as well as because the air traffic controller did not recognize that the readback from the aircraft was incorrect and consequently did not confirm or correct the readback.
It is somewhat likely that noise occurring in the sound of the hold instruction from the air traffic controller contributed to the mishearing of the instruction by the flight crewmembers, and also that the misunderstanding by the flight crewmembers that they were allowed to enter the runway and the mind that there was no arriving aircraft contributed to the result that the flight crewmembers could not find the arriving aircraft.
It is also somewhat likely that the following contributed to the fact that the air traffic
controller did not notice the incorrect readback and failed to confirm or correct the readback.
(1) The air traffic controller heard the readback from B2332 over a loudspeaker without wearing a headset.
(2) The readback from B2332 was unclear.
(3) The air traffic controller assumed that her own instructions were read back correctly.