The aircraft pilot who avoided a fatal collision between two planes at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport has been rewarded 3 million yuan (440,000 USD) from China’s Eastern Airlines.

The incident occurred in early October when a traffic controller at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport gave two planes the wrong orders, resulting in them sharing a runway, one taking off, while another taxied into the airport.

He Chao, the pilot in control of the plane taking off, staged an emergency take-off and was able to fly over the taxiing plane. He Chao ultimately saved the lives of over 500 passengers on board both flights.

The award ceremony was held on Thursday and the management of Eastern Airlines and Chinese Civil Aviation Administration honored He Chao, rewarding him with 3 million yuan (440,000 USD). His air crew was also rewarded 600,000 yuan (90,000 USD).

In the fallout from the incident, China’s Civil Aviation Authorities have suspended the 13 air traffic controllers and officials on-duty at the time for improperly directing the other flight onto He Chao’s runway.

(This article is published on People’s Daily Online)

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