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The slip of an air traffic controller almost caused a plane crash in 2020 in Paris

Two planes passed within meters of crashing in July 2020 after a language “slip” by an air traffic controller at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, according to a new report.

A plane arriving from Newark, New Jersey, was ordered to land on a runway where another plane was taking off, the French Bureau of Investigation and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety concluded in a review of the incident published on Tuesday,

United Airlines’ Boeing 787 prepared to land as EasyJet’s Airbus A320 prepared to take off for Malaga, Spain, according to the report.

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The planes were to take off from runway 09R and land on 0L9, according to the report. However, the controller accidentally instructed the United Airlines plane to land on 09R.

The United Airlines crew sought to confirm the runway change, saying “understand” and “avoid 9 to the right,” rather than the left, according to the report, adding that the controller did not verify the response. and moved on, telling the EasyJet flight to prepare. for takeoff from 09R.

Noting that the United Airlines plane appeared to be heading towards them, the EasyJet crew alerted the controller and asked him why the other flight was maneuvering towards 09R.

At an altitude of 300 feet and just over 4,200 feet from the end of the runway, the EasyJet controller and crew warned the United Airlines flight not to land.

There were only 300 feet between them when the planes passed each other, according to the report.

The controller told investigators there were a number of factors at play, including confusion after another flight crew requested to land on runway 09R, the report said, adding that she was also in the process of changing computer screens and couldn’t see the 09 tracks because she was facing them.

Investigators also concluded that there were other factors to consider as well, including that the United Airlines crew did not use the correct terminology when confirming the runway, according to the report.

The office also suggested that the Covid-19 pandemic could be partly to blame, as the significant drop in air traffic had put the controller out of practice.

United Airlines, EasyJet and Charles de Gaulle Airport did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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