The event covered by this report falls under the category of “an aborted takeoff from a runway used by another aircraft” as stipulated in Clause 1, Article 166-4 of the Civil Aeronautics Regulations of Japan, and is classified as an aircraft serious incident.
On June 27, 2007 (Wednesday), a Boeing 767-300, JA767F, operated by Skymark Airlines Inc., started a takeoff roll on Runway 19R of New Chitose Airport as SKY730 for Tokyo International Airport. At around 21:09 Japanese Standard Time (JST), it rejected the takeoff as another aircraft was observed crossing the same runway.
The aircraft was Boeing 777-200, JA8967 operated by All Nippon Airways, Co., Ltd. It departed from Tokyo International Airport at 19:53 JST as ANA79, and was crossing Runway 19R from Taxiway B9N toward A8S after having landed on Runway 19L of New Chitose Airport.
A total of 158 people were on board JA767F, consisting of the captain, seven crewmembers and 150 passengers, and a total of 246 people were on board JA8967, consisting of the captain, ten crewmembers and 235 passengers; no one was injured, nor was any damage done to the both aircraft.
It is estimated that this serious incident was caused because the Tower Controller issued takeoff clearance to Aircraft A by mistake despite that he had planned to instruct it to hold on 19R, while allowing Aircraft B to cross 19R without realizing the mistake, and Aircraft A which started takeoff run, visually confirmed Aircraft B crossing 19R and rejected the takeoff.
Concerning the erroneous issuance of takeoff clearance by the Tower Controller, it is considered possible that he had been tired out and kept working at the same control position over an hour without knowing when the next rotation personnel would take over his position, thereby causing his attentiveness to slacken.
As for the fact that the controller didn’t realize his mistake until Aircraft A reported him of its reject, it is considered that this is so because he had been thinking that Aircraft A would be holding at the takeoff run starting point of 19R, and he was not watching carefully the Aircraft until Aircraft B finished crossing 19R as the control of it had been transferred over the Ground control after issuing the crossing 19R clearance, and also he was not watching the airport surface carefully as he was concerned with Aircraft C making a visual approach.
In addition, regarding that neither the Watch Supervisor nor the Ground Controller noticed the mistake made by the Tower Controller, being unable to grasp the condition until Reject was reported, it is considered that this is so because the proper personnel assignment was not made, as the watch supervisor was charging concurrently as several positions such as the coordinator position, and the ground controller was charging as the coordinator position when the watch supervisor left his position, and it was unable to pay attention appropriately and evenly, and unable to pay attention to the entire maneuvering area of the airport.