Pilots Unable To Contact Tower for About Ten Minutes, Delaying Landings
Pilots approaching Takamatsu Airport in Kagawa Prefecture in Japan the evening of December 17th were unable to contact the control tower for about ten minutes, resulting in landing delays and possible disciplinary action against the controllers on duty.
The Japan Times online reports that a JAL airliner was unable to land on schedule, and that delay caused an ANA airliner to be late, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry. There were two controllers assigned to the tower Monday, but one controller in his 60s was reportedly away from his post for about 50 minutes, according to the investigation, while the other controller, described as in his 40s, had inadvertently turned down the audio volume in the tower.
Japanese regulations require that there are at least two controllers on duty at all times. The ministry said it was "inappropriate" for the older man to be away from his position for such an extended period of time, particularly at a time of day when air traffic volume is usually high.
The ministry has not said what kind of disciplinary action it might take against the controllers.