The Mallorca-Manchester flight reportedly swerved just 100ft from a private jet in its path shortly after takeoff. It is believed passengers on board were unaware of how close the planes were to a mid-air collision.
Commercial aircraft are normally required to keep a minimum distance from other aircraft – three to five miles horizontally and 1,000 feet vertically.
An initial investigation shows the Ryanair flight was just a mile horizontally and just 100ft from the private jet vertically, a distance that could be closed in seconds by the plane traveling at 150 miles per hour.
Air traffic control and the plane’s instruments should have alerted the pilots of the private jet on their way, but neither is thought to have done so.
Instead, the plane’s crew spotted the private jet from the cockpit and turned around to avoid a mid-air collision. The Ryanair flight had recently taken off from Palma airport in Mallorca and was accelerating rapidly.
A Ryanair spokesperson said in a statement: “The crew of the flight from Palma to Manchester took immediate action after identifying a converging light type aircraft and as a result the aircraft remained well clear and the flight continued to Manchester.
“The event is still under investigation and we continue to liaise with the respective competent authorities to support the associated processes.”
It is believed the planes were just 20 seconds from a potential collision before the Ryanair flight turned. Pilots are trained to always turn right when they fear being too close to another aircraft.
The Spanish-registered private jet, a Cirrus SF50, had recently taken off from nearby Son Bonet airfield and soared to 100ft.
The report states: “The investigation determined that the incident occurred because an aircraft was cleared to land on a runway occupied by another aircraft in the process of taking off, without respecting the regulatory distance.
“Flawed planning by the air traffic controller, who took advantage of a gap between two landings to authorize a take-off, is considered a contributing factor to the incident.”
The plane attempting to land arrived from Germany carrying 186 people, while the other plane was heading to Liverpool with 185 people on board.
The report said visibility was good at the time of the incident and showed the number of flights entering and leaving Malaga at the time was not a contributing factor.
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