Gov't may punish 2 air traffic controllers over 10-minute lapse


The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry is considering taking disciplinary measures against two air traffic controllers in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, after an incoming flight was unable to communicate with the tower for 10 minutes.

According to the ministry, the incident occurred last Monday night. Sankei Shimbun reported the pilot of a Japan Airlines flight bound for Takamatsu from Haneda contacted the control tower at 6:23 p.m. to request clearance to land but received no reply. The pilot then tried Kansai airport and was told to remain in a holding pattern until they could find out what was going on.

An All Nippon Airways flight, due at Takamatsu, was also requested to stand by, Sankei reported. Contact with the Takamatsu tower was re-established at 6:33 p.m. and both flights landed safely.

According to transport ministry officials, there were two controllers on duty in the tower at the time. One of them, a man in his 60s, had been absent from the tower for about 50 minutes, “doing research,” it was reported. The second controller, a man in his 40s, told officials that he mistakenly set the speaker volume too low.

A transport ministry spokesman said the two controllers may be punished. It also said that it has asked the airport authority to conduct refresher courses for all air traffic controllers.

Japan Today

  • 4


    "Doing research!" I`m going to say that the next time my wife/boss/students ask me what I was doing when I go AWOL for an hour!

  • 3


    This is negligence of the highest order, I hate to imagine the magnitude of a potential mishap. Another thing what sort of research that is so important for the 60 year old controller to be away from the control and the excuse by the other controller of low volume speaker is beyond comprehension. I don't think this is his first day at work and to not check on all those instruments prior to his commencement.

  • 2


    I'm guessing there was a bonenkai going on in the meeting room, and these two lost track of time ...

    say what?!!?

  • 2


    "doing research" in air traffic control facility by an air traffic controller on duty? It is really strange for me.

  • 2

    Tom DeMicke

    "Doing research" probably on his Keitai!

  • 1


    Wow! That is pretty dangerous. I've landed in komatsu and it is not a large airport. However, one would think they have much more strict rules for air traffic control. I was teaching the air traffic controllers at narita a few years ago and they were all pretty young and seemed very well disciplined. I don't think retraining is the answer. I think a policy update would be more pertinent.

  • -1


    What's ten or fifteen minutes between friends? Anyway he was probably out for a smoke.

  • -1


    Dumb and Dumber, sitting in the tower and neglecting tens of lives. There is at least one instance where a plane crashed, killing everyone onboard, because of controller negligence keeping them too much on hold patterns.

  • -2

    Kazuaki Shimazaki

    Mensyoku (firing) would seem the appropriate penalty here...

  • -2


    Speaker too low or speaker to loud on his keitai watching Hulu.

  • -3

    Knox Harrington

    Reasearch, hahahaaa!

    You are gonna have do do so many "moshiwakegozaimasendeshita", my friend. But in the end, you'll go back to the same position, with the same salary.

    Just bow and say sorry and all is forgotten.

  • -5

    Ian Duncan

    One of them, a man in his 60s,

    Am I the only one concerned by this clause?

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