Commercial aircraft are intended to maintain a strictly enforced separation both vertically and horizontally while in the same airspace.  Ryanair's Boeing 737 had just taken off from Palma Airport when the incident occurred.  Image: Stock Photography

Ryanair’s plane arrived within seconds after an air collision with a private jet at 150 mph

A Ryanair jet packed with British holidaymakers on its way back to Manchester arrived within seconds of an air collision.

The pilot on the flight to the UK from Mallorca was dramatically forced off course after seeing a private jet converging on its runway.

The Boeing 737 had just taken off from Palma Airport when the miss almost occurred – and according to radar tracking, it arrived within 100 feet of the other plane.

Commercial aircraft are intended to maintain a strictly enforced separation both vertically and horizontally while in the same airspace.

The minimum vertical distance is 1,000 feet while the horizontal distance they must keep is between three and five miles.

An initial investigation has revealed that Ryanair’s jet was within a mile of the light aircraft horizontally and only 100 feet vertically.

After just taking off the commercial jet, it traveled at 150 mph and accelerated rapidly and the routes of the two planes converged, it is believed that the two planes could have been as little as 20 seconds from colliding.

Commercial aircraft are intended to maintain a strictly enforced separation both vertically and horizontally while in the same airspace.  Ryanair's Boeing 737 had just taken off from Palma Airport when the incident occurred.  Image: Stock Photography

Commercial aircraft are intended to maintain a strictly enforced separation both vertically and horizontally while in the same airspace. Ryanair’s Boeing 737 had just taken off from Palma Airport when the incident occurred. Image: Stock Photography

A private jet Cirrus flew in the way of the commercial plane, forcing the Ryanair pilot to turn out of the way.  Image: Stock Photography

A private jet Cirrus flew in the way of the commercial plane, forcing the Ryanair pilot to turn out of the way. Image: Stock Photography

Ryanair’s flight crew turned away from the other private jet, a Cirrus SF50, only after seeing it out of the cockpit instead of being alerted by the air traffic control or one of the warning systems on board, which should have happened.

Passengers on the flight on May 28 are believed to have been unaware of almost the miss and both planes continued safely to their destination.

Spanish air traffic controllers have launched an investigation into the incident.

A spokesman for Ryanair said: “The crew in the battle from Palma to Manchester took immediate action when they identified a lightweight converging aircraft and as a result the aircraft remained clear and the flight continued to Manchester.”

“The incident is still under investigation, and we continue to liaise with the respective competent authorities to support the associated processes.”

The miss almost took place in Palma, Mallorca, when the Boeing 737 packed with returning holidaymakers had been ready to take off and climbed off the main runway.

The Spanish-registered Cirrus jet had taken off from the nearby Son Bonet airfield and climbed 1,000 feet, according to air traffic control records and radar readings.

Pilots are trained to always turn right when they are afraid they are too close to another aircraft.

A Ryanair source said: “The captain and First Office did exactly what they were trained to do. They were aware of the situation and did everything in accordance with all their training.”

The inquiry will examine instructions given to both captains of the jet with possible guilt on Spanish air traffic controllers.

This will not be the first time Spanish air traffic controllers will be blamed for a close impact involving Ryanair.

Two years ago, air traffic controllers at Malaga Airport were blamed for putting two Ryanair jets on a collision course on the same runway.

The two jets packed with over 350 holidaymakers came within 500 meters of each other when one landed and the other took off.

An investigation into the near miss showed that an air traffic controller at Malaga airport failed to warn the departing aircraft that another jet was about to land just as it was accelerating down the runway.

Passengers on the flight on May 28 from Palma Airport, pictured, to Manchester are believed to have been unaware of almost the miss and both planes continued safely to their destination

Passengers on the flight on May 28 from Palma Airport, pictured, to Manchester are believed to have been unaware of almost the miss and both planes continued safely to their destination

A report by the Spanish aviation authority accused air traffic controllers at Costa del Sol airport – one of the busiest in Spain – of the error.

The report showed that it was the latest in a series of incidents where jets were too close to each other at landing and take-off.

Following an investigation, new security measures were introduced at Malaga Airport to prevent similar incidents.

The incident report clarified that Ryanair’s flight crew was not responsible for the incident.

It said: “The investigation has established that the incident occurred because an aircraft was allowed to land on a runway occupied by another aircraft in the process of taking off, without respecting the prescribed distance.

“Lack of planning by the air traffic controller, who used a gap between two landings to allow a takeoff, is considered a contributing factor to the incident.

“Given the immediate danger posed by the loss of regulatory unbundling, the absence of decision-making (such as setting off take-offs) by the air traffic controller has also been considered a factor.”

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