ATC Runway Change Miscommunication

I was on approach to Ho Chi Minh City when my approach controller cleared me to line up for the ILS Approach on Runway 07R, as I had requested. However, after contacting the tower controller and announcing that I was inbound on the ILS for 07R, they cleared me to land on Runway 07L.

Since this wasn’t my runway, I requested a runway change to 07R, which was my runway all along, as I didn’t know how else to let them know that I wasn’t lined up for 07L. However, the controller told me that I was unable to continue onto 07R, so I wasn’t sure if I should declare a missed approach or if I should change to 07L.

I decided to continue my approach as I had been in a holding pattern for almost 20 minutes and didn’t want to miss my landing window, so I announced that I would come in for a visual on 07L (I didn’t have time to retune my ILS localiser). I was only at about 2000 ft at this point, so I had to quickly line up for the new runway while maintaining my position on the glideslope.

Should I have changed runways at the last minute as I did, or should I have announced a missed approach? More importantly, how did this miscommunication occur between myself, and the approach and tower controllers? How can I avoid a situation like this again?



Tower wanted you to change to 07L. It wasnt a miscommunication as he gave you a pattern entry into 07L, meaning he intentionally changed your runway. When ATC gives you instructions like these, it’s always best to follow them. As a pilot you may not understand why you received it, but there are a number of reasons of why he might have done this such as spacing etc. Hope that helps?


It is recommended that you find out who operated the ATC at the time and DM then to clarify exactly what happened and why you should’ve landed there when approach cleared you to. Hope this helped ;)

Slipping to the runway next to one you were setup for isn’t that rare in real life, usually due to aircraft on your desired runway etc, 2,000ft isn’t that bad seeing as it is a parallel runway.

Even though the tower controller wanted to change your runway after radar cleared you for an approach, this is actually not allowed. But it‘s always the right thing to follow the instruction.


I ended up following the instructions, although I’m still unsure if I should have declared a missed approach…

Either way, my approach controller had me in a right traffic holding pattern to line me up with Runway 07R, so they must not have been aware the tower was only using 07L for arrivals… if I had declared a missed approach I could have faced the same problem again.

Do tower and approach controllers have ways of communicating runway information??

Unfortunately I didn’t take note of who the tower controller was… nor did I tune into the ATIS frequency to see if there was any specific runway information that could have caused this situation.

It is up to you as a pilot to declare a missed approach (unless a controller notices a runway incursion and needs to send a plane around). If you felt like it would be unsafe or you wouldn’t make it over to 7L in time, you should go around, but if you can make it over safely then I see no need to do a missed approach and instead just follow the instructions given to you, which you preceded to do

If you don’t feel comfortable switching the runway at that stage then a missed approach/go-around might be the thing to do. Otherwise switch over to 07L and fly the approach there.

Yes, some approach controllers spawn in before opening & grab ATIS to see what ops tower is using. Others will let tower know they’re opening & ask which runway do you prefer arrivals on. There shouldn’t be miscommunication between the controllers because more times than not, approach controller will announce they’re opening.


Hello! I was the controller at the time! The reasoning for the runway reassignment was we were executing an airport runway change to 25’s instead of 7’s. So I was getting the 15+ departure line out on 7R while keeping all arrivals to 7L. And yes we do have a way of communicating to each other :) I assumed it would be no problem since there were no aircraft around you and you were about 6nm away when I reassigned you. Thanks!


Always tune into atis, they somtimes have suoer important info and even in you just try remember runway and remarks you will be fine. Or even better write it down foreflight has scratchpads and you can write down your notes on them

@Anthonycolon51 and @Captain_Ken should continue the discussion via dm

Ah I see, I did notice that runway operations had changed to 25L and 25R when I returned, so I understand now what you were trying to do by putting all inbounds on 07L. It was definitely a last minute surprise but I landed safely so that’s all good I guess! Thank you for your response :)


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