Honolulu landing
rules altered

All incoming flights will be directed
to land by the control tower

By Diana Leone

In the wake of a low-flying 747 jet alarming Waikiki high-rise residents Saturday, the Federal Aviation Administration will no longer allow pilots to make a visual approach to Honolulu Airport.

The FAA office in Honolulu informed U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's office that as of yesterday all incoming flights will be directed by the air-traffic control tower, said Inouye spokeswoman Jennifer Sabas.

Planes flying into Honolulu had been commonly cleared for a visual landing when the weather was clear, FAA regional spokesman Mike Fergus told the Star-Bulletin Tuesday.

Sabas said FAA authorities told Inouye's office yesterday that the investigation of the China Airlines flight is ongoing.

Fergus said Tuesday that the investigation could take two weeks. Last night, he referred comment on the new rules at Honolulu Airport to the FAA's Washington office, which was not available.

The China Airlines plane was inbound to Honolulu from Narita, Japan, when witnesses began calling the FAA at 6:55 a.m. Saturday to report that the plane was flying unusually close to the Century Center condominiums on Kalakaua Avenue, Fergus said.

According to Monday's written briefing by Deborah Saito, Honolulu assistant air traffic manager: "Normally, aircraft remain offshore until approximately two miles from the runway. Approximately six miles from the runway, (the China Airlines plane) made a left turn toward the airport and proceeded a quarter-mile inside the south shoreline of Oahu to line up for runway 26L. The aircraft's path took the aircraft over residential and commercial areas, which resulted in numerous noise inquiries to the facility (Honolulu air traffic control). The aircraft's altitude remained above 1,200 feet MSL (mean sea level) until approximately four miles from the runway when the aircraft continued his descent and landed at the airport."

According to Saito's briefing, since the incident Saturday, all FAA personnel are being provided refresher briefings on safety alerts and standard operating procedures for aircraft, and all incoming aircraft will be directed to land under the direction of air-traffic controllers.

The Federal Aviation Administration

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