A Ryanair flight narrowly averted a mid-air collision in May, radar tracking data shows.
The industry-insider publication reports that the other aircraft was “100 feet vertically from impact”, with the Ryanair plane “within one horizontal mile of the private aircraft”.
The safe distance commercial planes must keep from other aircraft is 1,000 ft or 0.3km.
Ryanair confirmed that a “converging light-type aircraft” had been spotted by pilots, but said the plane “remained well clear”.
“The crew of this flight from Palma to Manchester (28 May) took immediate action upon identifying a converging light-type aircraft and as a result, the aircraft remained well-clear and the flight continued safely to Manchester,” the spokesperson said.
“The event remains under investigation and we are continuing to liaise with the respective Competent Authorities in support of the associated processes.”
Near-miss collisions are extremely rare in commercial aviation, with modern technology ensuring that aircraft stay thousands of feet clear of one another.
However, they are not unheard of: in September 2020, two Ryanair planes were involved in a near miss over northern Spain because of a series of blunders by air-traffic controllers and a malfunctioning warning system.
Meanwhile, in August 2019 an aircraft at Heathrow had an extremely near-miss with a drone; and in May 2021, two small aircraft actually collided mid-flight near Denver, Colorado in the US.
Though one of the aircraft was nearly ripped in half, and the pilot of the other had to deploy a parachute attached to the plane to land safely, no one was injured in the incident.