A Russian airplane has been involved in an extremely near miss after descending on Spain's Barcelona Airport only to find another passenger plane taxiing across its landing strip.
The Russian Boeing 767, operated by UTAir and flying from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, was flying a mere 200 feet above ground on its approach to Barcelona, when pilots saw an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus taxiing in its path, The Aviation Herald reported Sunday night.
A video uploaded to YouTube showed the Boeing tilt up its nose abruptly after spotting the plane on the landing strip, and manage to pass over the Airbus.
After initiating the "go-around" — an aborted landing on final approach — the Russian craft positioned for another descent and landed safely 15 minutes later, The Aviation Herald reported. The Airbus was also safe, taking off 20 minutes after the incident, the report added.
It remained unclear whether the Argentinian aircraft had received clearance from traffic control to taxi across the descending plane's path, or whether it had proceeded without clearance, The Aviation Herald reported.
The company that operates the airport and its traffic control, Aena, said the distance between the airplanes was sufficient for the Boeing to continue landing safely, the report said.
Aena also said that neither airline had filed a safety report — an indication that the Airbus had been cleared to cross the runway, The Aviation Herald reported.
While not immediately obvious from the video, Itar-Tass cited reports as saying that the planes were more than a kilometer apart at the time of the incident.
Readers of The Aviation Herald — an industry source that reports about incidents and critical situations in civil aviation — calculated using estimated speeds and distances that the crash may also have been avoided, if just barely, had the Russian pilots proceeded with the landing.
As Barcelona's runway 02 — where the incident occurred — is rarely used, pilots have developed a "habit" of taxiing across it without paying sufficient attention to the so-called holding points, leading to a number of unauthorized runway incursions in the past, the report said.