Hong Kong Airlines A330 and Fedex MD11 Lost Separation At Hong Kong

An incident occurred at Hong Kong International Airport on Friday, May 22, when two aircraft experienced a loss of separation. A Hong Kong Airlines Airbus and a FedEx MD11 came within 800 vertical feet of each other before safely separating.

There was a loss of separation incident in Hong Kong last week involving Hong Kong Airlines and FedEx. Photo: Getty Images.

Aircraft departs on the runway with another on final approach

The incident is reported in AeroInside. According to the report, the Hong Kong Airlines A330 was lined up for departure on runway 25L. Simultaneously, the FedEx flight was on final approach to 25L. The FedEx plane was 0.7 nautical miles out from the runway and 250 feet above ground level when it commenced a go-around.

As the go-around began, the Hong Kong Airlines aircraft started its roll down the runway. The Hong Kong Airlines A330-300 (B-LNM) was operating flight HX765 from Hong Kong to Bangkok. HX765 pushed back from the gate in Hong Kong at 18:15 on Friday.

The Hong Kong Airlines flight path immediately after take-off. Source: FlightAware.

According to AeroInside,  Hong Kong ATC let the A330-300 take off but held it to a ceiling of 2,000 feet. As the Hong Kong Airlines Airbus rolled down the runway, it was passed by the faster moving FedEx aircraft. The MD11 was ahead of the A330-300 by around 0.5 nautical miles as the Airbus left the ground, and vertical separation was then just 800 feet.

The FedEx aircraft was able to climb to establish vertical separation of more than 1,000 feet and then diverge. At this time, the Hong Kong Airlines A330 was cleared to keep climbing and continued onto Bangkok. There were no passengers on board this flight.

The arrival and go-around track of the FedEx MD11. Source: FlightAware.

The FedEx MD11 successfully performed a go-around and landed safely on runway 25L some 23 minutes later. It had been operating N595FE out of Anchorage.

Hong Kong authorities investigate but this one of many incidents at the airport

In a statement, Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department said it took the incident seriously and was investigating.

“The CAD attaches great importance to the runway incident and is sparing no effort to investigate it.”

There have been several incidents at Hong Kong International Airport in recent months. In early April, there was another involving a FedEx aircraft, this time a Boeing 777-200 freighter. In this incident, the plane reportedly made a wrong turn as it climbed out of the busy airport.

The aircraft, operating through to Taipei, was meant to make a right turn after take-off. Instead, it made a 45 degree left turn taking it across the path of runway 07L.

Cathay Pacific has been involved in several incidents recently at the airport. Photo: Getty Images.

Just days earlier, a Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 coming in from London deviated off-course and crossed over the path of another runway. The aircraft was cleared to approach runway 07L but crossed over to 07R

In mid-April, a Cathay Pacific A350 been towed collided with one of the airline’s Boeing 777s, damaging both the tail of the Boeing and the winglet of the Airbus A350.

Later that month, an Air Canada flight coming in from Vancouver descended below the minimum sector altitude as it approached runway 25L. This incident was attributed to an issue with the airport’s ILS.

Loss of separation incidents and towing mishaps are not that unusual and are not restricted to Hong Kong. But as Simple Flying has previously flagged, there have been a series of communication and ILS issues at the airport. Friday’s incident continues that pattern.