Iran Air ATR-72 lands on wrong runway [Report]

Oscar Yuen

Iran Air ATR-72, with 24 passengers and 5 crew onboard, coming from Baku, Azerbaijan, mistakenly landed on a wrong runway in Tabriz, Iran, on February 10, 2020. Due to pilot error, the aircraft landed on runway 30R, instead of 30L to which it had clearance, Iranian authorities have ruled in the report. 

On approach to Tabriz, the flight crew initially were given clearance to land on 30R, but requested 30L due to better braking conditions. However, after ATC had granted the request, the pilots forgot to retune the ILS frequency and landed on the 30R, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation has found. 

At the time, the 30R runway lights were switched off. Noticing that, the first officer did consider a go-around, the report states, but the action was not taken and the aircraft proceeded to land. The situation is described in the report as proof of the lack of effective communication between the two pilots. 

Following the investigation, the authority issued several recommendations, including the retraining of both pilots, as the company training for type conversions were found ineffective. Another recommendation concerning Tabriz Airport is to keep all lights on, on both runways, at night and during low visibility conditions. 

ATR-72 is the youngest aircraft in Iran Air’s fleet. While some planes there are already counting over 30 years of operations (like Airbus A300 models), the average age of the 13 turboprops is only 2.4 years, data indicates. The aircraft involved in the incident, registration number EP-ITM, was delivered to the airline in July 2018. 

On April 29, 2018, an Airbus A321 of Vietnam Airlines landed on an unfinished runway at Cam Ranh International Airport (CXR) in Nha Trang, Vietnam. While landing, the plane, carrying more than 200 passengers from Ho Chi Minh City, sucked foreign objects scattered on the construction site, damaging its engines. No injuries were reported.


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