A 200 passenger Airbus landed on a runway that was under construction in Vietnam.
We’ve all had to endure rough landings every now and then. Maybe the weather was bad, maybe there were some strong crosswinds, or maybe the pilot was just having an off day. But the people aboard Vietnam Airlines Flight VN7344 from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang had a very rough landing.
Mostly because the pilot decided to land on a runway that was still under construction.
According to The Aviation Herald, flight VN7344 approached Cam Ranh International airport on a calm day with good visibility. It was fairly obvious which runway was the correct one since it had all the nice lines painted on it, but rather than pick Cam Ranh’s sole operation runway, the pilot opted for the one under construction.
Although the Airbus A321 landed without major incident, "the engines sucked a number of foreign objects from the runway surface in," according to the aviation news site. The wings were also slightly damaged, although not nearly as bad as the engines.
However, the real issue is the fact that the second runway under construction is not yet connected to the rest of the airport. That A321 is now stranded with busted engines and no way of getting back in the air.
“Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority rated the occurrence a serious incident, suspended the flight crew, and opened an investigation,” wrote The Herald.
To be fair to the Vietnam Airways flight crew, normally when a runway is out of service there is a giant X painted on it to ward off confused pilots. That wasn’t done on Cam Ranh’s second landing strip since it’s still rather early in its construction and is not scheduled to begin operation until later this year.
Also, 300 meters of the strip has been designated for use by Vietnamese military aircraft, which have sturdier engines and require less distance to take off and land.
Vietnam Airlines later issued a statement saying that the aircrew of the wayward Airbus was given up to date landing charts that designated the runway under construction as under construction and not for commercial use. "The VVCR airport charts 10-9 and 10-9-0 depict ‘Unservicable Area’ for the construction zone of the new runway and taxiways."
All 203 passengers eventually made it to the actual airport, although they got a little dusty on the way over.