Tuesday 20 March 2018

Dramatic scenes as Aer Lingus pilot swerves to avoid private jet that strayed onto runway during take off

Luckily the Aer Lingus jet had enough room to take a right around the Cessna
Luckily the Aer Lingus jet had enough room to take a right around the Cessna

Sarah Jane Murphy

Passengers on board a Dublin-bound Aer Lingus flight had a lucky escape when a private jet accidentally entered their designated runway during take off.

The incident occurred last Friday, at Geneva Airport in Switzerland.

The Aer Lingus Airbus A320-200 had received clearance for take off, and had begun to increase its speed down the runway.

At the same time, a British Airways Airbus A320-200 was making its final approach to the airport and was due to land imminently.

An air traffic controller caught sight of a Cessna Citation plane making its way into the path of Aer Lingus EI-681 and made a frantic transmission, instructing "Foxtrot Victor hold position."

Read More: Fall in profits for Aer Lingus ahead of takeover by IAG group

An urgent message was then conveyed to the British Airways plane to abort their landing immediately.

"Speedbird 726, go around, I repeat go around, traffic has interfered on the runway," the controller said.

Luckily, the British Airways crew were able to comply with the instruction.

The controller then contacted the Aer Lingus flight to check that they were all right.

The crew replied: "Affirm, we had enough room to take a right around the traffic but we were okay, yes."

Clearly relieved, the controller replied "I am happy for you. We just saw the Cessna quite late but happy you are okay."

An Aer Lingus spokeswoman told Independent.ie that the airline has submitted the necessary reports to the relevant authorities and are awaiting feedback.

"At all times our crew were compliant with procedures and air traffic instructions," she said.

It is not yet known if the pilot of the Cessna made a wrong turn or was in fact following instructions from a controller.

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