Air China Flight 129

Air China Flight 129

Infobox Airliner accident|name=Air China Flight 129
Date=April 15 2002
Type=Controlled flight into terrain
Site=Busan, Korea
Aircraft Type=Boeing 767-200ER
Operator=Air China
Tail Number=airreg|B|2552|disaster
coords= coord|35.2327|N|128.9280|E|region:KR-26_type:landmark_scale:50000|ref= [citation
title = Official Aircraft Accident Report
url =
publisher = Korea Aviation-accident Investigation Board
id = KAIB/AAR F0201
year = 2005
] |display=title

Air China Flight 129 (CCA129, CA129) was a flight from Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing, People's Republic of China to Gimhae International Airport, Busan, South Korea. On April 15, 2002, the jet on this route crashed into a hill near Busan, killing 128 of 166 on board. This crash is currently recorded as the deadliest plane crash in South Korea.


The Boeing 767-200 took off at 0837 local time (0037 UTC). After nearly 2 hours in flight, it arrived near Gimhae airport in light rain and mist. At 1120 local time (0220UTC), CA129 received clearance to land at runway 36L from Gimhae tower, but the aircraft circled the runway again after a missed approach due to low visibility. After an attempt to circle-to-land on runway 18R (the same runway from the opposite direction), the crew concentrated too much Fact|date=July 2007 on the weather and ATC communications while going below the Minimum Safety Altitude (MSA), and crashed into a hill at 1140 local time (0240UTC). The aircraft broke into parts and caught fire. 38 survived including the captain.


* Model: Boeing 767-2J6/ER
* Registration: airreg|B|2552|disaster
* Previous Registrations: N60659
* MSN/CN: 23308/127
* Engine: Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4E4
* Year of Delivery: 1985

Crew members

* Flight Crew:
** Captain: Wu Xinlu (吴新禄), 6000 hours on Boeing 767, 5 times to Busan, received captain's license on 23 November, 2001;
** First Officer: Gao Lijie (高立杰)(He is a member of CFSO);
** First Officer: Hou Xiangning (侯向宁);
* Flight Attendants:
** Ye Hongxia (叶红霞), Wang Ze (王泽), Zhang Wanhua (张婉华)、He Zhen (贺珍), Xu Liya (许丽雅), Du Dazheng (杜大正), Luo Rui (罗睿) and Sun Jiayue (孙嘉悦).


Among the 155 passengers, 135 were from Korea, 19 from China and 1 from Uzbekistan.


Weather at the time of crash was poor. According to the METAR record at Gimhae airport, visibility was below 4000 meters with light rain and mist.

Accident report

The official accident report was released in May 2005. The Probable Cause read:

# The flight crew of flight 129 performed the circling approach, not being aware of the weather minima of wide-body aircraft (B767-200) for landing, and in the approach briefing, did not include the missed approach, etc., among the items specified in Air China’s operations and training manuals.
# The flight crew exercised poor crew resource management and lost situational awareness during the circling approach to runway 18R, which led them to fly outside of the circling approach area, delaying the base turn, contrary to the captain’s intention to make a timely base turn.
# The flight crew did not execute a missed approach when they lost sight of the runway during the circling approach to runway 18R, which led them to strike high terrain (mountain) near the airport.
# When the first officer advised the captain to ascend again for landing, about 5 seconds before impact, the captain did not react, nor did the first officer initiate the missed approach himself.

Alleged Responsibilities of the airport

According to Chinese investigation team, in addition to flight crew causes, South Korea's Kimhae Airport has inescapable responsibility for the air crash. Liu Yajun, head of the Chinese investigation team said in an interview,

# The chief air traffic controller on duty, Park Junyong, did not own a license for air traffic control issued by the South Korean Construction and Transportation Ministry. Park did not know the property of the aircraft, a Boeing 767, and mistakenly directed the airliner to descend to an altitude of 700 feet (213.5m) instead of 1,100 feet (335.5m).
# The airport did not inform the crew of the weather conditions at the time. Eight flights before CA129 were directed to land at other airports because of bad weather.
# There were also problems with the radar system and lighting at Kimhae Airport.

Flight number still in use

Air China kept the flight route designator for its Beijing - Busan route after this incident. Two days after the accident, another 767 served as flight 129 and safely carried 106 passengers from Beijing to Busan, although the flight was delayed for 10 hours and 10 minutes due to bad weather. Although Air China runs a Boeing 767-200 and a Boeing 777-200 on this route now, the flight route designator remains flight 129.

ee also

* Korean Air Flight 801
* Air China
* Ground proximity warning system


External links

* [ South Korea's Kimhae Airport's Responsibilities]
* [ Topic of "The 4.15 Air Disaster" on People's Daily (In Chinese)]
* [ Flight 129 Accident Description record]
* [ Accident aircraft B-2552 photos on]

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