Two jetliners had a close call at Barcelona Airport on Saturday, and the near miss was caught on video.
CNN reports that a Boeing 767 belonging to Russian airline UTair had to pull up from its landing approach as an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A340 taxied across its path. An immediate investigation of the incident was started by the government’s Committee on Civil Aviation Incidents and Accidents.
Fortunately, there were no injuries reported, and the Russian plane circled round and landed safely a few minutes later.
Needless to say, the video clip of the close call was posted on YouTube and immediately went viral, receiving close to two million hits by Monday.
Trying to explain what had happened, an airport spokeswoman told CNN that the UTair pilot had been cleared to land but exercised his authority to abort. Apparently, the Aerolineas Argentinas jetliner also had permission to taxi across the runway, but she would make any comments about the timing.
The spokeswoman claimed the the perspective of the video was distorted, making the jetliners appear closer than they actually were. In reality, it was not a close call, and there had never been any danger of impact. She added that it had never been about “a collision or a possible collision,” and the two planes were half a mile apart at the time of the event. Neither airline has submitted a complaint.
Aerolineas Argentinas in Madrid referred calls to its headquarters in Buenos Aires. UTair said the pilot of its flight from had followed the instructions of Barcelona airport dispatchers. In a statement they said:
“While lowering on a final approach track the commander found an obstacle on the runway (the aircraft of another airlines was crossing it.)
“The aircraft commander took prompt decision on the implementation of standard operating procedure — go-around flight maneuver. The maneuver was carried out in the normal mode, the landing was successful, none of the passengers was injured.
In this situation, the commander well judged and adequately assessed the situation, showing at the same time composure and professional excellence. According to international rules aircraft while performing approach has an absolute priority over all the aircraft located on the ground.”
Given the volume of air traffic, it’s really a miracle that this type of close call incident involving jetliners doesn’t occur more frequently.