300 people on planes in near miss at Dublin Airport
Published 25/12/2015 | 00:30
Two aircraft with more than 300 people on board came within 800 metres of colliding at Dublin Airport, an air accident investigation report has said.
The airport was busy on March 8 this year when a scheduled flight to London Luton was cleared for take-off as an incoming plane approached.
An air traffic controller misheard a radio signal from the pilot of the departing aircraft requesting more time to prepare and asked it to take off speedily.
As the plane slowed on the way to the runway, the controller changed his mind and tried but failed to stop it.
A few weeks later two Ryanair planes clipped wings as they taxied in Dublin.
A report by Ireland's Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) said the departing flight was cleared for take-off with a landing aircraft on final approach to the same runway.
"Re-appraising the situation, the controller attempted to stop the departing aircraft at the holding point; however, as a result of a blocked transmission, the departing aircraft continued past the stop line which was in accordance with its previously issued clearance," the review found.
Investigators said the air traffic controller deemed it safer at that point to let the arrival continue and land.
The departing aircraft took off before the arriving aircraft touched down.
The controller had sought confirmation if the departing aircraft was ready for an "immediate rolling departure".
He thought the reply was affirmative and "didn't hear anything else". In fact, the reply from the flight deck was negative because the cabin had not been secured.
Following this incident, the Irish Aviation Authority installed a "time to touchdown" in the tower displaying the time to touchdown of the next aircraft on final approach.
"Associated air traffic control procedures have been developed, safety-assessed and implemented and the use of time to touch down should greatly reduce the risk of the event occurring in the future," the report said.