Ryanair Faro airport

Close shave at Porto airport: planes authorised for take off and landing on same runway

Ryanair pilot saves day, admit aviation sources

Aviation sources have confirmed that Porto Airport’s control tower authorised the landing of a Ryanair plane on Monday when “simultaneously the runway still had a SATA (Azores Airlines) A321neo ready for takeoff”.

Had it not been for the Ryanair pilot flying a Boeing 737 into Porto from Barcelona, informing the control tower of its mistake, there would undoubtedly have been “other consequences”.

Say the sources, this was a “serious incident”.

National aviation authority NAV meantime says it “had immediate knowledge of the incident (…) through the occurrence reporting system”, and has informed GPIAAF,  the Office of Prevention and Investigation of Accidents with Aircraft and Railway Accidents and National Civil Aviation Authority ANAC.

“NAV Portugal has opened an internal investigation into this incident and is currently collecting the necessary information to prepare its report,” the air traffic management company tells Lusa.

Reporting on the story today, SIC Notícias adds that there have been “serious failures in air traffic control” at both Porto and Ponta Delgada (Azores) airports in the recent past.

In a final investigation report, released in December last year, GPIAAF showed what appears to be a pattern of similar blunders.

In the case of Porto’s Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, there was an incident in 2021, on the night of April 27, when a cargo Boeing 737-400, operated by ASL Airlines Belgium, began takeoff, at the moment that a ‘follow-me’ vehicle, “duly authorized to perform runway inspection, noticed a bright light and questioned the tower about the presence of any aircraft lining up on the runway”.

GPIAAF has since made five safety recommendations to NAV, says SIC, “covering aspects of implementing reliable runway incursion detection systems independent of human action, reviewing policies for effective oversight of controllers and their operational prerogatives, reviewing components of their safety management system, and implementing the sterile control room concept.

Following release of the GPIAAF report, NAV said it adopted “a set of internal measures” to “mitigate as much as possible the risk of repetition of the errors that caused” incidents that have occurred at both national airports (Porto and Ponta Delgada).

Lusa has therefore asked NAV how it views this week’s serious incident – saying the national airspace manager “refutes similarities and comparisons between the incident on Monday and the one on April 27, 2021.

The measures adopted resulted from another type of incident, which should not be transposed to this particular case. The occurrences are materially different and the measures adopted in the past helped to strengthen the safety of the operation for that type of situation, and were not compromised by what happened last Monday,said Nav.

ANAC has “the same understanding”. The sector regulator tells Lusa says that, technically, the incident on Monday “is not a repeat of circumstances, but an occurrence of a different type” of circumstance.

Also in response sent to Lusa, GPIAAF states that “was notified by NAV Portugal” of Monday’s incident, adding that “immediately began collecting information in order to support its ongoing evaluation process of the circumstances of the occurrence.

As for the question of the measures adopted by NAV Portugal and ANAC following the incident of April 27, 2021, GPIAAF states that “both entities have established an implementation plan until December 31, 2023.

In this regard, ANAC says it is “monitoring” the implementation of several measures by NAV.

Source: SIC and LUSA