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HK aviation authorities probe near-miss.

HONG KONG, Sept. 27 Kyodo

Aviation authorities in Hong Kong said Tuesday they are investigating a near-incident involving two Hong Kong-bound passenger aircraft carrying a total of 613 people.

The planes of Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair averted an accident after automatic alarm systems on both planes issued warnings they were flying only 1 nautical mile horizontally from each other on Sept 18.

The standard separation distance is 5 nautical miles.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

The Civil Aviation Department said in a statement it is conducting an investigation with the airline operators concerned, ''although there was no risk of collision.''

Cathay Pacific flight CX841 from New York was flying with 10 minutes worth of fuel left in poor weather and asked for a landing sequence rearrangement, which caused the plane to fly at the same altitude of Dragonair flight KA433 from Kaoshiung in Taiwan when they were about 37 nautical miles southwest of Hong Kong's international airport.

Crews of both planes ''were in visual contact with each other,'' the department said, adding subsequent instructions from air traffic control telling the Dragonair flight to make a left turn and for the Cathay flight to climb were unheeded.

About 17 seconds later, the Traffic Collision Avoidance System urged the Dragonair flight to climb and the Cathay Pacific flight to descend as the planes passed each other.

''As the avoiding actions by both aircraft were executed in a controlled manner and both pilots had the other aircraft in sight well in advance, there was no risk of collision,'' the department said.

Cathay Pacific, which owns Dragonair, insisted there was no risk of collision and the safety of the flights was not compromised.

A spokesman said they reported the incident to the authorities within 24 hours of its occurrence.

But the carrier did not explain why the two flights ignored air traffic control instructions, only saying both pilots took ''appropriate'' action to gain separation.

The Cathay Pacific flight had 18 crew and 299 passengers on board while the Dragonair flight had 12 crew and 284 passengers.

Former civil aviation chief Albert Lam said the planes were ''dangerously close'' and called for a thorough investigation.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Oct 3, 2011
Previous Article:Kyodo Industry Brief (Sept. 27) -2-.
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