'Human factor' behind Ryanair incident in Italy
A Ryanair flight was allowed take off while another Ryanair jet was approaching to land in the opposite direction on the same runway, an investigation has established.
A loss of situational awareness and an inaccurate handover between air traffic controllers has been blamed for the serious incident involving the two Ryanair jets at Bergamo’s Orio al Serio airport in Italy in 2010.
Almost three years after the incident, Italian air accident authorities, the ANSV, have published their report.
On March 26th, 2010, Ryanair flight FR-4535 had been cleared to take off from runway 10 while another Ryanair flight (FR-9463) was on final approach to land on the opposite end of the same runway.
When air traffic controllers realised “the developing situation”, the crew of the incoming flight was told to abandon its approach and climb again to 4,000ft, then to go around and approach the runway from the opposite direction.
The departing flight had been instructed to climb to 3,000ft but with the other flight approaching in the opposite direction, and also climbing, the crew was then told to stop climbing at 2,000ft.
The crew informed the controller, however, that the aircraft was already at 2,200ft. The flight was then told to level off at 2,500ft.
While trying to maintain a safe separation between the aircraft, the controller ordered flight 4535 to turn right immediately as there was an aircraft just a mile and a half in front of it, and closing.
“As a consequence, the two aircraft intersected each other through an opposite direction, but with a restored vertical separation,” according to the report. Flight 9463 repositioned for a new approach and safe landing while flight 4535 was cleared to climb to 3,000ft and continue its journey.
A transcript shows controllers thanked both crews for their cooperation whilst also apologising for the inconvenience. “The cause of the event is mainly due to human factor, and in particular to inadequate co-ordination among air traffic control personnel,” said the ANSV.