Air traffic controllers at Hong Kong have put in place a temporary procedural change after a Finnair Airbus A340-300 accidentally attempted to take off from a taxiway at the airport last month.

Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department says the flight had been taxiing towards the western end of the airport's taxiway B, and turned right towards runway 07L, during the 26 November incident.

But it then made a premature right turn and lined up instead on taxiway A, which runs between the runway and taxiway B.

Controllers, assisted by surface-guidance systems, noticed that the aircraft started its take-off roll on taxiway A and instructed the jet to stop.

It came to a halt abeam taxiway A5, around 1.4km from the beginning of taxiway A.

Civil Aviation Department investigators state that, while the take-off was attempted in darkness, the lights on the runway and both taxiways, as well as the stop-bar lights, were all serviceable. Weather was not a contributing factor, adds the department.

"Review of the air traffic control radio recording showed that communication between air traffic control and [the A340] was normal with pertinent information and instructions duly acknowledged by the pilot in accordance with proper radio communication procedures," it says.

While the investigation is continuing, adds the department, Hong Kong controllers have imposed a temporary procedure which involves withholding take-off clearance on runway 07L until they have confirmed the aircraft has crossed taxiway A.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news