Easyjet plane 'narrowly missed runway works', report finds

Pilots of an Easyjet plane narrowly missed a set of works after not realising the runway's length had been reduced, a report has found.

The pilots, flying from Prague to Stansted with 149 passengers, only realised their mistake when their plane neared the runway's end, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said.

It said they "approached closer to the works than would have been intended".

Easyjet said the plane took off "safely".

The AAIB report said the flight from Prague to Essex took off during the afternoon of 4 July 2012.

It said pre-flight the crew had spotted a notice for Prague Airport that the works had reduced the runway length from 3,715 to 2,500m (12,188 to 8,202ft).

It said before take-off, the pilots had also listened to an automatic terminal information service broadcast about the runway, "but it was reportedly in heavily-accented English".

Distracted crew

The report added that the pilots did not gather from the broadcast that the runway length had been reduced and had "forgotten" the content of the notice.

It meant take-off calculations were conducted for the normal runway length.

The report said the plane's captain later attributed the oversight to "reduced crew awareness at the end of a lengthy duty period."

It added the captain believed the crew had been interrupted pre-flight by someone visiting the flight deck, which had distracted them.

The AAIB stated the works on the runway were also not easily visible to the crew at the start of take-off and the captain said that air traffic control provided no additional warnings.

However, the Airbus A319 took off without being damaged or causing injury to anyone on board, the report said.

An Easyjet spokeswoman said no-one from the firm had been disciplined over the incident and AAIB's report "does not make any recommendations".

She added: "The aircraft took off safely, however, we always seek to learn lessons from any incident."

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