Two planes came within 875 metres of each other at a Scottish airport, an investigation has found.
An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report found there had been a “rapid” closing of the gap between the two passenger planes in an incident at Edinburgh Airport on the morning of August 13 last year.
The planes involved were a landing Boeing 737, which was less than 1km away from a departing Airbus A320 – a situation described by investigators as a “loss of separation” between the two.
The commercial passenger flights had a combined total of more than 350 people on board.
The AAIB said a combination of factors contributed to the situation, including brief delays to the departure of the A320, the speed of the Boeing 737 and a trainee controller’s lack of experience.
The airport’s air navigation service provider is said to have reviewed operations at Edinburgh and taken a number of safety actions to improve procedures and on-the-job training for trainees.
The incident on runway six happened at 9.48am on the day in question.
The Boeing had 159 passengers and seven crew on board, while the Airbus had six crew and 180 passengers.
No-one was injured in the incident and there was no damage as a result of what was termed a “runway incursion”.
In its report, the AAIB stated: “A landing Boeing 737 closed to within 875 metres of a departing Airbus A320 when landing at Edinburgh airport.
“The airport air traffic control service provider defined this as a runway incursion as the 737 was over the runway surface when the A320 was still on its take-off roll.
“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.”
The report also noted the crew of the departing aircraft (the Airbus) were unaware of the situation throughout and therefore could not react to it.
Responding to the report, a spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “Safety is absolutely paramount in our operations, a priority shared by ANS (Air Navigation Solutions), and we have discussed this incident in depth with them.
“We are satisfied that the remedial measures put in place are robust and continue to regard safety as the number one priority.”