A China Airlines (CAL) Boeing 737-800 nearly ran off the end of a runway on takeoff in southern Japan on 5 October.

The aircraft only got airborne at the end of the runway and the main landing gear appears to have hit something on the ground as it took off, according to television footage taken at the scene.

Some news reports say a broken runway light was later found at the end of the runway.

A CAL spokesman in Taipei says the incident happened at around 14:00 on 5 October at Japan’s Saga airport and it was the same aircraft that had been parked at Saga airport since 20 September undergoing repairs.

The aircraft, registered as B-16805, needed to be repaired because it had a 77cm crack in the rear fuselage.

When asked why the aircraft appeared to have been travelling down the runway slowly and only got airborne at the end, CAL’s spokesman says there was a problem with the aircraft’s speed indicator. There was a substantial difference between what the captain’s was showing and what the co-pilot’s was showing, he adds.

He also says that after takeoff the captain returned the 737 to Saga because he was concerned about the speed indicator and the fact that weather near Taiwan would be bad because of a typhoon.

There was no damage to the aircraft as a result of the takeoff and no passengers were on board because it was on a ferry flight back to Taiwan, he adds.

It is unclear whether the Japanese authorities will be investigating this latest incident, says the spokesman. He adds that when the aircraft eventually returns to Taiwan it will be grounded for a few days for inspections before entering commercial service.

A spokeswoman for Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council (ASC) says that at this time the ASC has no plans to investigate the incident and is waiting to hear from its counterpart in Japan. It is a public holiday in Japan today.

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Source: FlightGlobal.com