Landing on the taxiway at Paphos: not so difficult


It’s easier than you think to land on the parallel taxiway at Paphos, like a Thomson Airways Boeing 737 did recently when it had been cleared to land on runway 29.

Have a look at the picture. The taxiway is the same size as the runway. In fact it used to be the runway. But the factor that probably tips the psychological balance for the pilots is that the taxiway is not in the logical place.

At Paphos, the runway is the strip closest to the terminal and to the parking apron. The apron is on the south side of the runway between it and the sea.

Somewhat unusual! On departure from the apron for take-off, you have to cross the active runway to get to the taxiway.

On approach to 29 (from the right of the picture), if you weren’t paying too much attention, it would be easy to line up visually on the more northerly strip.

But it does require you not to be paying much attention to detail.

This kind of event happens sufficiently often that it has a name: runway confusion.

Of course it also quite often happens that pilots are talking to the tower at one airport while landing at another one nearby.

That’s easier to do than you think if two airfields are close, especially if their active runways are similarly orientated.

You call up the tower of your destination airport before the airfield is in sight, get an acknowlegement, and then you see an aerodrome and assume it’s your destination, so you line up to land, and even get clearance to do so, with the controller who’s talking to you wondering why he can’t see you yet, and the guy who can see you on final approach wondering who you are and what you think you’re doing.

Aviation never gets boring.

One Response to Landing on the taxiway at Paphos: not so difficult

  1. Fred 2 October, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    We were on that flight, did wonder why it landed and stopped so quick, But other than that a very good flight.