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EasyJet A319 lands on closed Runway at Pisa 30/12

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EasyJet A319 lands on closed Runway at Pisa 30/12

Old 30th Dec 2015, 22:14
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EasyJet A319 lands on closed Runway at Pisa 30/12

Reported on Aviation Herald

Incident: Easyjet A319 at Pisa on Dec 30th 2015, landed on closed runway

Landed on closed R/W 04R instead of 04L.

Related NOTAM:
B6654/15 - RUNWAY 04R/22L AVBL AS TWY ONLY. RUNWAY 04L/22R AVBL AS RWY IN USE. RMK1:TRAFFIC MAY BE SUBJ DLA RMK2RG TAX OPS MAY BE NECESSARY TO CROSS ACTIVE RUNWAY IN ORDER TO PREVENT RWY INCURSION FLW STRICTLY ATC INSTRUCTION.REF AIP AD 2 LIRP 2-1. 23 DEC 15:44 2015 UNTIL 31 JAN 23:59 2016 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 23 DEC 15:44 2015
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 08:40
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Approach lights ON only for the runway in use if landing following a non precision and max intensity if landing into the sun.
Should be NOTAMed to the ATC! and always requested.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 09:04
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I've read the AVH report & comments. I did not notice any publication of ATC landing clearance. Surely it should have been "ez-XYZ cleared to land RW04L." even adding, "be alert RW04R is closed." What did ATC say? They have the tapes. Ref notams: in many companies, at relevant bases, there would be a large wall poster, or some eye catching publication, of such critical operational data. Was/is there such a thing at ez?
The crew were only 1 slice of the cheese.

Last edited by RAT 5; 31st Dec 2015 at 09:32.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 10:58
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Hands up whoever here has landed on 04L in Pisa as I never have, its always 04R (the only runway with an ILS) or 22L after the circle.
And if someone wants to trawl through the piles of pointless NOTAMS for PSA (and most Italian airports) in the past, there would have been an identical NOTAM, except saying that 04R/22L is in use and 04L/22R is in use as a taxiway only as that is what I remember every time I've been there as being in the NOTAMs.
My point is is that while of course the crew 'should' have seen the NOTAM, the amount of clutter, junk, old pointless NOTAMS, etc, that a crew is bombarded with when flying to Italy meant that something being missed like this is inevitable and will happen again unless things change. The crew had probably landed 04R every other time they'd been there...throw in a controller shouting into a microphone held too close to his mouth, with a poor quality radio with associated background hum, clearing them to land and its the perfect combination.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 11:12
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Totally sympathise with the crew. PSA is a nightmare. Not only are the radios poor quality the controllers speak very quickly, they shout, are heavily accented. They will bark orders at you which contradict NOTAMS. They will give you last minute runway changes whilst at the hold for one runway. They will switch runways at a minutes notice yet lie to you regarding tailwinds to avoid changing runways when it suits. Then keep you sat at the hold so that an Air One plane can land on the easterly to get a quick taxi in to the apron.

Throw in some bad weather or poor vis and the place will quickly descend into chaos.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 13:17
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Surely it should have been "ez-XYZ cleared to land RW04L." even adding, "be alert RW04R is closed."
You are joking of course. You are given a landing clearance for a specific and stated runway. ATC have no time to start adding a caveat with all other runways which you are not clear to land on and should avoid!
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 14:00
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The remarks from posters above re the plethora of NOTAMs and quality of R/T indicate that nothing has changed in Italy since I retired... But never mind, the bureaucrats' backsides are well and truly covered, the resident operatives will all express astonishment at such an inexplicable error, and the embarrassed airline managers are unlikely to have the moral courage to support the crew concerned.

Hotel Tango, as a retired air-traffic controller you should know it is the responsibility of an air traffic service to assist all crews to the best of its ability. It should be obvious that a foreign crew is less likely to be au-fait with current WIP at a provincial airfield than one that is based there, or which has operated in and out earlier on its shift. RAT 5 is right. An alternative addition to the landing clearance might be: "...caution, runway zero-four right is closed." How busy is ATC at Pisa? And, by the way, there are only two strips at Pisa.

Last edited by Chris Scott; 31st Dec 2015 at 14:30. Reason: Second para added.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 14:06
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Surely if they flew the VOR they should have realised it was 04L? Have to agree with above, the place is an absolute shambles.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 14:28
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Chris, in my opinion "cleared to land runway 04L, caution runway 04R is closed" may actually create more of a potential for misunderstanding with say a busy crew as the last verbal reference is 04R. I would stick with a clear and positive landing clearance for the runway concerned. If you really want to add to the clearance then go for "Runway 04L cleared to land runway 04L". I would avoid mentioning any other runway in the same transmission.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 14:39
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Can anyone tell us how many NOTAMs are currently in force at (a) PSA, and (b) Milano FIR/UIR?**

Quote from Hotel Tango:
"Chris, in my opinion "cleared to land runway 04L, caution runway 04R is closed" may actually create more of a potential for misunderstanding with say a busy crew as the last verbal reference is 04R."

Yes, you make a very good point. Perhaps "... I say again, runway zero-four left." would do? Alternatively: "Easy XXX, caution: runway zero-four right is closed. You are cleared to land on runway zero-four left."

I wonder what the crew said in acknowledgment to the landing clearance.

** [EDIT] I should have added: Roma FIR.

Last edited by Chris Scott; 31st Dec 2015 at 16:14.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 14:42
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OK, OK. but what did ATC say? If they said "cleared land 04L" it begs a question.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 14:49
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Dear Sirs and Madams
Correct me if I'm wrong.
...was cleared to land on Pisa's active runway 04L but touched down on closed runway 04R at 11:11L (10:11Z). ...
LIRP 301015Z 11007KT 9999 FEW030 SCT050 10/08 Q1027 NOSIG
LIRP 300945Z 12007KT 8000 FEW030 SCT050 09/08 Q1027 NOSIG
The sun was almost in the zenith and so was not a factor.

I do not want to sound presumptuous but for me it is not so difficult to distinguish right from left.

By the way let's wait for the conclusions of the investigation.

DOVES
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 14:49
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Is this a post against Italy or to discuss an incident happened to easyJet?

If you are cleared to land on a certain runway you must comply with it. Discussion on Notams or ATC audio quality is pointless.

So then we should be worried to land in Nice aswell or Gatwick? How about Madrid Barajas?
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 15:42
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So then we should be worried to land in Nice aswell or Gatwick? How about Madrid Barajas?
NCE has a giant flashing X when the usual landing runway is closed.

LGW swap the lighting system over and have a different approach type when the usual landing runway is closed.

MAD you prepare for one of the four options, and whilst they sometimes spring a different one on you there's a precision approach to all of them.

PSA is a chaotic place at the best of times. The NOTAM was terribly worded and started with the words 'RUNWAY 04R/22L AVBL...' with the word CLOSED not mentioned at all. There is no ATIS, only weather passed by approach in heavily accented English faster than you can write.

Only the tapes will prove which runway they were cleared to land on. I would not be the least bit surprised if the controller issued the clearance for the closed runway.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 16:07
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Human Factors

Quote from I-AINC:
"Is this a post against Italy or to discuss an incident happened to easyJet?"

The latter! This is clearly a human-factors incident that, in only slightly different circumstances, could have cost lives. Only one poster on this thread has suggested that Pisa ATC might have cleared the a/c to land on a closed runway and, as DOVES points out (in the longest post so far), we must await the incident report without assuming the facts of this specific case. However, it appears that a flight crew of this well-respected airline made a serious mistake. We are asking: what human factors might have caused the mistake? And any human factors errors discussion should include ATC and the airport authorities. Feel free to add your theories.

Much as I used to enjoy going to Italy during my pilot career, particularly for night-stops, I'm sorry to say that the comments that posters are making about the performance of ATS generally in Italy are fully justified in my experience. Remember, many of us have flown to scores of countries all over the world. One can understand such deficiencies in third-world countries, but Italy is a leading European country with a proud and pioneering aeronautical tradition.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 17:09
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I've been out of the loop for many years now, but didn't the French have a great idea of placing a giant no entry sign at the end of an out of use runway. It may not have precluded an embarrasing approach to the runway, but I doubt they would have landed on it.

CB
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 17:32
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I last flew into PSA 3 months ago, landing 04L. The NOTAMS left me no doubt leaving the crew room that 04R was closed, I have also circled to 22R in the last year too. No issues...

Out of interest when I first started Shorthaul around Europe a long time ago, Italian ATC was pretty poor. Unintelligible, poorly thought clearances were just 'normal'. I have to say they have certainly improved the quality of transmission and the clearances are more thoughtful. Not saying 'perfect', but certainly a great improvement.
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Old 1st Jan 2016, 10:10
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Only the tapes will prove which runway they were cleared to land on

Feel free to add your theories.


No need to add theories. There was no accident and all participants are alive & well. The tapes are there to be listened to. There is a simple question with a simple answer. If the a/c was held on the ground for 4 hours the answer could have been obtained within that time.
What occurred during that delay? Did the military & local cop shop hold court? They let the a/c & crew depart so something must have been decided. Were the phones between Pisa & Luton burning hot?
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Old 1st Jan 2016, 16:09
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...No need to add theories...: Is it a promise or a threat?

...There was no accident and all participants are alive & well. ...
Yes! Thanks to God! But!
If a malicious person threatens someone with a weapon, that jams and therefore no one gets hurt, just so there is no wrongful?

Who told "The Aviation Herald" to write: ...was cleared to land on Pisa's active runway 04L...?

Was a briefing made for the runway in use? Length/width, obstacles, maximum landing weight, missed approach procedure, availability of the yellow Runway weight limitation table (Max T.O. Weight, One Engine Out procedure...) for the following departure

I have no answers I have only questions.
Happy New Year
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Old 1st Jan 2016, 17:28
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According to the Easyjet flight status page yesterday for the return flight, it was delayed as the "crew for your flight had to be replaced". Apparently a replacement crew were sent from Luton causing a 6.5 hour delay. I would assume this would be fairly standard procedure to ensure that the crew involved didn't have this playing on their mind whilst operating the return sector - human factors?

Having never visited PSA I have no clue on how chaotic it may or may not be, however from an ATC perspective, why didn't the tower controller send the aircraft around when it became apparent they were aligned to the incorrect runway?

Just my 2p...

-HD-
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