Ryanair disputes 'near-crash' claim at Memmingen airport
German aviation report says pilot demanded runway change to save time after delayed take-off
BUDGET airline Ryanair is disputing a German aviation report that claims one of its aircraft nearly crashed after the pilots tried to make up for lost time.
The Boeing 737, carrying 153 passengers, took off 25 minutes late from Manchester airport. The airline is a stickler for punctuality and the pilot sought permission to land at Memmingen Airport in Bavaria on Runway 24 instead of the scheduled Runway 6 to save time on taxiing on landing.
It is claimed the crew then set the autopilot incorrectly for the new approach and the plane descended too quickly, resulting in an emergency pull-up.
The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation classified what happened on 23 September as a "serious incident". At one point the plane was just a second away from disaster – dropping at 500ft per second when it was just 450ft above ground. The report said that, according to the flight recorder, a warning sounded with the words: "Terrain, terrain, pull up".
Ryanair reported the incident but said it was disputing some of elements of the German report, blaming "high tail-winds" for the incident which took place in September.
A spokesman told the Daily Mail: "Ryanair flight FR3214 on September 23 was on its final approach to the runway in Memmingen when they encountered unexpectedly high tail-winds.
"The crew decided to initiate a go-around procedure in line with Ryanair operating policy. After they had already commenced the go-around the aircraft warning systems sounded and the crew completed their go-around, landing normally a short time later. This incident was reported to the Irish Aviation Authority on September 24 and is the subject of an ongoing investigation."
The incident occurred just days after news emerged that several Ryanair flights had been involved in emergency landings which pilots said were due to low fuel readings.