The Civil Aviation Department has launched an investigation after an Airbus A320 was found to have deviated from its normal flight path and passed over the top of the Big Buddha on Sunday morning.

The department confirmed that at 9:52am on June 26, a Shenzhen Airlines flight shifted from the regular path when preparing for landing at the north runway of the Hong Kong International Airport. Air traffic controllers immediately issued instructions to return the flight to its regular course and to safe altitude, RTHK reported.


The Aviation Herald, which covers incidents and news relating to aviation, reported that flight ZH9041 from Jinjiang to Hong Kong was on its final approach when it aborted the landing and declined the handing over of control to the tower.

At the same time, another plane was ascending from the south runway, and air traffic control instructed it to stop climbing at 3,000 feet.

ZH9041 climbed over Lantau Island and the Big Buddha at about 3,000 feet, and then to safety at 6,000 feet. Twenty minutes after the incident first began, the plane landed safely.

The big Buddha. Photo: Wikicommons.

The Civil Aviation Department also said that separation from other traffic was not an issue and no other planes were affected. An investigation into the matter has been launched and Shenzhen Airlines has been requested to hand over a report.

Correction (June 30): A previous version of this article stated that the ZH9041 was instructed to stop climbing at 3,000 feet. It was, in fact, another plane ascending from the south runway that had been given instructions to do so.


Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.