Portuguese investigators have disclosed that a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 crew on approach to Porto warned air traffic control that the runway was still occupied despite having received landing clearance.

The incident on 26 June occurred after an Azores Airlines Airbus A321neo was authorised to line up, behind landing traffic on short final, on runway 35.

Portuguese investigation authority GPIAAF says the approaching traffic landed and the A321neo (CS-TSI) lined up to await take-off instructions.

The Ryanair aircraft (EI-DLX) had also been on final approach to the runway.

According to GPIAAF its crew contacted air traffic control, about 30s before touchdown, receiving landing clearance and wind information.

“The [Ryanair crew], noticing that the runway was occupied by the Airbus, warned the controller of this fact,” states the authority.

The controller cancelled the landing clearance and ordered the 737 to execute a go-around about 13s ahead of its reaching the runway 35 threshold.

Porto landing incident-c-FlightGlobal from GPIAAF and Google Maps

Source: FlightGlobal from GPIAAF/Google Maps data

Controllers had cleared the Ryanair flight to land while runway 35 was occupied by the A321neo

GPIAAF says a preliminary analysis indicated the 737 was 275ft above ground and 950m from the runway, where the A321neo was positioned.

The A321neo departed for Porto Santo and the 737 subsequently landed, without further incident, after a second approach. No-one on board either aircraft was injured.

Meteorological data from the airport shows good daylight weather conditions at the time.

GPIAAF says the Porto tower controller has responsibility for the ground control function, which is normally performed by a dedicated controller. It adds that several departing aircraft had been in contact with the tower at the time of the event.

The authority had recently completed an inquiry into a similar occurrence at Porto, in April 2021, during which an ASL Airlines Belgium 737-400 had been cleared to take off from runway 35 despite the presence of an inspection vehicle.

Investigators determined that the controller had carried out a 4h solo, uninterrupted shift before the incident.