Iran Air Airbus A319 Lands On The Wrong Runway In Tabriz

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For the second time this year, an Iran Air aircraft has landed on the wrong runway at Tabriz in northwest Iran. An incident occurred in February involving an Iran Air ATR72 and in October involving an Iran Air Airbus A319.

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An Iran Air Airbus similar to the Airbus involved in October’s incident. Photo: Getty Images

Pilots “forgot” their landing clearance

According to a report in The Aviation Herald yesterday, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization has released its findings into the October incident.

“The crew received clearance to land on runway 12L. The crew focused on another incoming Mahan flight while conducting the approach. As a result, both crew forgot their landing clearance had been issued for 12L,” the report says.

The Aviation Herald says that on October 3, an Iran Air Airbus A319-100 was carrying 106 people operating flight IR449 from Isfahan to Tabriz. The Airbus received clearance to land on runway 12L at Tabriz bu instead landed on runway 12R.

“The crew realized only after landing and the warning by the tower, that they had landed on the wrong runway,” says Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization report.

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One of the runways at Tabriz Airport in Iran. Photo: Hansueli Krapf via Wikimedia Commons

A similar incident occurred earlier this year

In February, a similar incident occurred. An Iran Air ATR72 was operating flight IR779 from Baku to Tabriz with 29 people onboard. The pilots were conducting an initial approach clearance for an ILS approach to runway 30R. However, the crew requested permission to land on runway 30 and received clearance to do so. But the ATR went onto land and roll out on runway 30R.

A subsequent investigation found the pilots had changed the FMS setup but did not alter the ILS frequency.

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“While on final approach, the crew noticed the PAPI lights. The PAPI lights for runway 30L are to the right of the runway and the PAPI lights for runway 30R to the left of the runway,” the report into the February incident said.

“The crew, however, assumed the PAPI’s for the left-hand runway would be left and the PAPIs for the right-hand runway at the right of the runway (not between the runways).

“Due to the close proximity of the two runways with just 190 meters between them, only one runway is active. The PAPIs for runway 30R were therefore off (the tower had switched them off).

The crew thus saw the PAPI’s for runway 30L, assumed the PAPI’s were to the left of their runway, and thus did not detect their error of following the ILS to runway 30R (with the wrong ILS frequency still tuned). The ident (morse code) of the ILS was not checked.”

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An Iran Air ATR72 like the one involved in the incident in February where the plane landed on the wrong runway. Photo: Chrisrabinson via Wikimedia Commons

Airbus captain produced an out of date license

In the February incident, the captain had 6,800 hours of flying time, including 1,700 hours on an ATR. His offsider has 650 hours all up, of which 450 hours were on an ATR. The published contents of the report about the October incident do not comment on flying hours. However, the report found the captain had not had his minimum rest time before been called in unexpectedly to operate the flight.

After the incident, when authorities asked the Airbus captain to produce his license, he produced an out of date license. An investigation later determined he was properly licensed.

Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority determined both the Airbus pilots displayed deficiencies in cockpit resource management, cockpit management, and task sharing. The report attributed landing on the wrong runway to an error by the captain. It also cited the first officer’s error and poor judgment as contributing factors.

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