The Aer Lingus pilot confirmed to air traffic controllers afterwards that they had “enough room to take a right around the traffic” following the incident at Geneva Airport in Switzerland last Friday morning.
Aer Lingus flight EI-681 had been cleared for immediate take-off while a British Airways (Airbus A320) was on final approach and due to land soon afterwards.
As the Aer Lingus jet raced down the runway for take-off, an alert air traffic controller spotted a Cessna Citation jet about to enter the same runway and made a frantic radio broadcast instructing its crew to “hold position here”.
Air traffic control recordings confirm that the transmission was quickly followed by an instruction to the crew of the inbound British Airways flight to abort their landing.
“Speedbird 726, go around, I repeat go around, traffic has interfered on the runway,” the controller said.
When the British Airways crew acknowledged the “go around” instruction, the controller informed them: “There is an Airbus A320 [Aer Lingus] which has just fortunately departed without any problems.”
The controller then contacted the Aer Lingus flight, asking: “Are you okay?” The Aer Lingus crew replied: “Affirm, we had enough room to take a right around the traffic but luckily we were okay, yes.”
The controller said: “I am happy for you. We just saw it [Cessna] quite late but happy you are okay.”
The Aer Lingus crew told the controller they would have to make a report on the matter while the controller said she would have to also.
An Aer Lingus spokeswoman said: “We have submitted necessary reports to the relevant authorities and are awaiting feedback. At all times, our crew were compliant with procedures and air traffic instructions.”
Its not clear, however, whether the Cessna crew had been following instructions from a controller at the time or made a wrong turn while taxiing.