The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued a scathing report over a near-miss between an easyJet and Norweigan aircraft at Edinburgh Airport.
The close-call occurred last August, but the CAA report was only released this week. A Norwegian Boeing 737, inbound from New York, was cleared to land as an easyJet A320 bound for London was still preparing to take off. At one point, the aircraft were 850 meters apart.
In its report, as noted by the UK Independent, the CAA described the incident as a “runway incursion”, noting:
The 737 was over the runway surface when the A320 was still on its takeoff roll.
That is contrary to CAA rules, which stipulate:
A landing aircraft shall not be permitted to cross the beginning of the runway on its final approach until a preceding aircraft, departing from the same runway, is airborne.
The “culprit” was trainee air-traffic controller, who (along with his supervisor) failed to slow the speed of the Norwegian 737 as it landed.
A combination of factors, including brief delays to the departure of the A320 and the speed of the Boeing 737 being higher than normal, led to the reduction in separation before the controllers became aware of the closeness of the aircraft.
The trainee controller lacked the experience to resolve the situation in a timely manner and the supervising On-The-Job Training Instructor judged it safer to let the 737 land than to initiate a go-around in proximity to the departing aircraft.
While the Norwegian pilot saw what was going on and altered the air traffic control tower, the easyJet pilots had no idea what was going on.
N0 harm no foul? I bring this story to your attention to demonstrate that near misses do happen and sometimes we do not hear about them. The very near Air Canada miss at SFO made worldwide headlines. This story, though not as draconian, was news to me today even though it happened last summer.
image: Mark Morgan / FLICKR