Pilots in American Airlines Kingston overrun were advised to use a different approach

Washington DC
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Controllers at Norman Manley International airport in Kingston, Jamaica offered the crew of an American Airlines Boeing 737-800 that overran on landing on 23 December a circling approach to the opposite runway end to avoid tailwind conditions.

The information was released in a preliminary report by the civil aviation authority of Jamaica. During a landing in heavy rain the aircraft exited the runway, went through a perimeter fence, crossed a road and came to rest 53m (175ft) beyond the end of Runway 12, which was 12m from the water line.

Officials say the controllers on duty at the time advised the American crew of tailwind conditions on Runway 12. The airport has a single runway designated 12/30.

In the report Jamaican authorities say that air traffic control offered the crew a circling approach for landing on Runway 30.

aa 737 overrun @ kingston, jamaica lloyd robinson/ap
 © Lloyd Robinson/AP

"The crew repeated their request for Runway 12 and were subsequently cleared to land on that runway, with the controller further advising the crew that the runway was wet," the report says.

The captain was operating the aircraft at the time, and reported he was using the 737's head-up display during approach and landing.

After descending through cloud cover the crew made visual contact with the runway between 1,000ft and 700ft above ground level. The flight data recorder indicates the landing speed was 148kt (268km/h), with a ground speed of 162kt and a tailwind component of 14kt. The 737 made initial contact at 1,220m down the 2,714m-long runway.

Flight data recorder data shows that the aircraft bounced once and settled into the runway. The autobrakes then engaged, and reverse thrust and spoilers were deployed.

Jamaican authorities say the crew reported at that point they felt the aircraft did not decelerate normally, and applied maximum breaking.

During the landing roll-out, the flight data recorder shows the aircraft veered to the left of the centreline and departed the end of the runway at a groundspeed of 63kt.

The reports says the flight data recorder did not indicate any anomalies or malfunction with the operation of the brakes, spoilers or thrust reversers.

The runway at Kingston was rehabilitated in 1997-98 with a mixture of asphalt and concrete that meets internationally accepted specifications and standards, say Jamaican officials.

They add that the fact that many aircraft have landed at the airport for years in heavy rains is "not outside the envelope of normality".