Shanghai flight bound for Haikou diverted for emergency landing in Shenzhen
All three alternate airports were said to have refused to accept the aircraft causing outrage in Chinese media.
Sanya Airport clarified that they would have accepted the aircraft, suitable weather conditions existed at that time. It was the choice of the crew however where they diverted to, and the aircraft never headed towards Sanya.
Guangzhou Airport reported that they were ready to accept the aircraft, however were at the edge of a weather front. At the time the aircraft set course towards Guangzhou until the estimated time of arrival at 01:52L the weather conditions permitted a landing. However, the aircraft was on final approach to Guangzhou only at 02:00L, in those 8 minutes the weather conditions had rapidly deteriorated forcing the crew to go-around.
Shenzhen’s Air Traffic Control reported that Shenzhen Airport had received a high number of weather related diversions and all parking stands were in use already, so that any new unscheduled arrival would have needed to park on taxiways. The airport had therefore transmitted that the airport would no longer accept "non-emergency alternates". A trainee controller communicated this notification to the crew of MU-2371, it is possible that a misunderstanding arose creating the impression with the crew that Shenzhen was not available at all and thus left them with the choice of Sanya and Guangzhou. The airport did not hesitate to accept the aircraft upon second request (editorial note: which was the emergency declaration).
China’s Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the occurrence. Sources within the CAAC indicated initial findings give reason to be critical of all three alternate airports, but suggest the primary cause was Shenzhen causing the confusion and raising the impression the airport was not available though the airport was suitable and preferred by the crew.
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