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Pilot praised for averting New Year easyJet plane crash UK News

The controller is believed to have “forgotten” about another plane waiting to take off before allowing an Airbus A320 with 179 people on board, from Gatwick Airport to Bordeaux-Merignac, to come into land.

And the incident on New Year’s Eve last year has now been classified as a “serious encounter” by a French investigative body.

The organisation has pointed the finger at air traffic control for forgetting about the other plane, a Robin DR400 awaiting take-off, and giving the green light for the A320 to touch down.

Pilots of easyJet flight were ‘not aware of the other aircraft’

France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety said on the day of the incident that “the shift manager… had reduced the number of controllers to three” down from six, in a new report.

It stated: “FR traffic then became very dense. The controller… late authorised the A320 to land, forgetting the presence of the DR400 at the threshold.

“The DR400 pilot, having understood that the A320 was authorized to land while still at threshold 23, reported to the controller, who immediately ordered the A320 to abort the approach.”

It explained how the pilots on the easyJet flight were never aware of the other aircraft.

An easyJet spokesperson told the Daily Star: “We are aware of the report regarding the ATC error which confirms that our pilots followed procedures at all times. The safety of our passengers and crew is our highest priority and we will always co-operate with safety investigations.”

The report continued: “The tower manager and the controller, surprised, then became aware of the situation. The A320 crew, mainly focused on the endpoint during the final approach, never identified the presence of an aircraft at the runway threshold.

“The missed approach was nominally executed by the easyJet crew. The lowest point of the trajectory was located at a height of 103 ft, at a distance of approximately 290 m from the runway threshold. The A320 flew over the DR400 at a height of 178 ft, then continued on the standard trajectory.”

Thankfully a disaster was averted and the DR400 later got the all-clear for take-off with the Airbus making a smooth landing on its second attempt.

The DR400 pilot has also been credited for their quick thinking.

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This notice was published: 2023-12-29 14:23:21

By Times Series

Times Series, The News from the London borough of Barnet, and Borehamwood & Elstree.

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