By Chris King •
Updated: 30 Jun 2023 • 18:58
Image of a Ryanair plane.
Credit: Tom Buysse/Shutterstock.com
A quick-thinking Ryanair pilot managed to stop what could have been a serious incident on the runway at Porto Airport.
The Irish jet was due to land at the Portuguese aviation facility last Monday, June 26, after its flight from the Spanish city of Barcelona. Luckily, the pilot radioed the tower to inform the controllers of their error.
Despite the fact that: ‘simultaneously, the runway still had a SATA (Azores Airlines) A321neo ready for takeoff’, the tower authorised the Boeing 737 to land, according to aviation sources. They described it as a ‘serious incident’ that could have had ‘other consequences’.
As reported by the Portuguese news outlet Lusa, an internal investigation into the incident has been launched by the relevant authorities. ‘NAV Portugal has opened an internal investigation into this incident and is currently collecting the necessary information to prepare its report’, they said.
NAV has also informed the Office of Prevention and Investigation of Accidents with Aircraft and Railway Accidents (GPIAFF), as well as the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC). They had: ‘immediate knowledge of the incident through the occurrence reporting system’, the air traffic management company confirmed.
There have been ‘serious failures in air traffic control’ at both Porto and Ponta Delgada (Azores) airports in the recent past reported SIC Notícias this Friday 30, reporting on Monday’s near-miss.
As the outlet commented, ‘The controller’s lapse could have been fatal and is considered a very serious mistake in aviation. All authorisations from the control tower for landing or taking off aircraft must only be made with the runway completely clear, to avoid the risk of collision’.
A similar pattern of what can only be called ‘blunders’ was uncovered in a report published last December after an investigation by GPIAAF.
On the night of April 27, 2021, a Boeing 737-400 cargo plane was in the process of taking off from Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport in Porto.
At the exact same time, a ‘follow-me’ vehicle appeared on the runway. Its driver had entered the tarmac allegedly unaware that any plane was present.
He had apparently been: ‘duly authorised to perform a runway inspection, noticed a bright light and questioned the tower about the presence of any aircraft lining up on the runway’ which was the jet operated by ASL Airlines Belgium.
NAV claimed to have adopted: ‘A set of internal measures to mitigate as much as possible the risk of repetition of the errors’ known to have occurred at Ponta Delgada and Porto airports after the GPIAAF report was released.
The national airspace manager was asked by Lusa to give their opinion on this latest incident in Porto, suggesting that it ‘refutes similarities and comparisons between the incident on Monday and the one on April 27, 2021’, according to portugalresident.com.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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