United B78X at Paris on Jul 20th 2020, cleared to land on wrong runway, ATC error saved by Easyjet

Last Update: September 2, 2021 / 13:45:34 GMT/Zulu time

Bookmark this article
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 20, 2020



Flight number

Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

Airport ICAO Code

A United Boeing 787-10, registration N16009 performing flight UA-57 from Newark,NJ (USA) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (France), was on final approach to Paris' runway 09L when tower cleared the aircraft to land on runway 09R. The crew read back the clearance and performed a swing over to runway 09R.

An Easyjet Europe Airbus A320-200, registration OE-IJF performing flight U2-3955 from Paris Charles de Gaulle (France) to Malaga,SP (Spain), had been cleared to line up runway 09R and wait, recognized the developing situation and reported the conflict on radio.

The B78X initiated a go around from about 260 feet AGL (500 feet transponder altitude corrected to QNH 1018 and 367 feet ground elevation) resolving the conflict.

The United B78X landed safely about 20 minutes later, the Easyjet A320 departed about 5 minutes later.

The French BEA rated the occurrence a serious incident (landing clearance on an occupied runway) and opened an investigation.

On Jul 19th 2021 the BEA released their final report in French (the English version was released on Sep 1st 2021, the following still based on the AVH translation of the French original) concluding the probable cause of the serious incident was:

- A mental slip by the controller clearing the aircraft to land on an occupied runway and not verifying the readback by the crew.

- The traffic management at that moment essentially on runway 09R (one landing, two departures, two runway crossings)

- The controller's concern with his change of position from Local NorthWest to Local NorthEast

- The controller's lack of practise related to the decrease in traffic during Covid 19 crisis period

- The use of the non-standard expression "Understand" by the flight crew rather than "confirm" which would have attracted more attention by the controller

On the day of the occurrence the Local Northeast position was not operational. From the fallback position Local Northwest the controller could not see the thresholds runways 09 which may have contributed to the controller not recognizing the swing over and the resulting conflict with the A320, which had been cleared to line up runway 09R for departure. The vigilance of both flight crews, in particular by the crew of the A320 observing the swing over while they were turning into position, but also the 787 crew observing the A320 lined up on their runway, contributed to avoiding a collision on the runway. At the same time the controller acquired visual contact and instructed a go around.

The BEA briefly summarized that the screen of the Local Northwest Control position could not be turned on, hence the controller used the Local Northeast position from where he could not see the thresholds of runways 09. A few minutes before the event, two planes had landed on runway 09L and were maintaining their position on the ramp before crossing runway 09R due to the landing of Air France's Boeing 787 on runway 09R. Two planes were at holding point D5, including the Airbus A320 from EasyJet, ready for departure on runway 09R.

On first contact with the crew of the United Airlines Boeing 787 on an ILS approach on runway 09L, the controller in the LOC position made a slip and cleared the crew to land on runway 09R instead of runway 09L . The crew, nevertheless wishing to dispel the doubt on this authorization which implied for them the realization of a bayonet, read back the landing clearance by adding in particular the words "Understand" and "Sidestep for 9 right" while awaiting '' a possible correction of the clearance by the controller. The controller did not check the crew's readings. The crew continued the final approach with a sight bayonet, in manual piloting, towards runway 09R.

The controller cleared the crew of the Airbus A320 to line up on runway 09R. The crew checked that the final approach axis for runway 09R was clear and saw the Boeing 787 which they estimated on final on runway 09L. He started rolling for the line-up. Before turning to line up with the runway centreline, the crew checked the final 09R centreline one last time and saw the Boeing 787 performing a swing over for runway 09R. This was at a height of 300 ft and 1300 m (0.7 NM) from the threshold. He questioned the controller about the presence of the Boeing 787 on final and faced with the imminence of a potential collision, the crew of the Airbus A320 asked the aircraft on final to go around. The crew of the Boeing 787 having visualized the Airbus A320 on the runway aborted its approach. At the same time, the controller confirmed the go-around instruction and the RIMCAS alarms were triggered. The Boeing 787 flew over the Airbus A320 at a height of approximately 300 ft.

LFPG 200630Z 02014KT 360V070 9999 BKN012 17/13 Q1018 NOSIG=
LFPG 200600Z 01013G25KT 330V070 9999 BKN010 16/13 Q1018 NOSIG=
LFPG 200530Z 01010KT 340V130 9999 FEW012 16/14 Q1018 NOSIG=
LFPG 200500Z 36007KT 9999 FEW016 16/13 Q1018 NOSIG=
LFPG 200430Z 02009KT 350V110 9999 FEW015 17/13 Q1018 NOSIG=
LFPG 200400Z 01010KT 9999 SCT014 17/14 Q1018 NOSIG=
LFPG 200330Z 01010KT 9999 BKN014 17/14 Q1018 NOSIG=
LFPG 200300Z 01011KT 9999 BKN014 17/14 Q1018 NOSIG=
Aircraft Registration Data
Registration mark
Country of Registration
United States
Date of Registration
GbhdlmnbcApjpd Subscribe to unlock
Aircraft Model / Type
Number of Seats
ICAO Aircraft Type
Year of Manufacture
Serial Number
Aircraft Address / Mode S Code (HEX)
Engine Count
Engine Manufacturer
Engine Model
Keccdnqqdbqm Subscribe to unlock
Engine Type
Pounds of Thrust
Main Owner
QpgpAfl ebbqqhAibpjdmAebbihdpimjeiknqfjffAc bbnAhnnkjcenlAdqbnqecmjjp im Subscribe to unlock
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 20, 2020



Flight number

Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

Airport ICAO Code

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
Article source

You can read 2 more free articles without a subscription.

Subscribe now and continue reading without any limits!

Are you a subscriber? Login

Read unlimited articles and receive our daily update briefing. Gain better insights into what is happening in commercial aviation safety.

Send tip

Support AeroInside by sending a small tip amount.

Related articles

Newest articles

Subscribe today

Are you researching aviation incidents? Get access to AeroInside Insights, unlimited read access and receive the daily newsletter.

Pick your plan and subscribe


Blockaviation logo

A new way to document and demonstrate airworthiness compliance and aircraft value. Find out more.


ELITE Simulation Solutions is a leading global provider of Flight Simulation Training Devices, IFR training software as well as flight controls and related services. Find out more.

Blue Altitude Logo

Your regulation partner, specialists in aviation safety and compliance; providing training, auditing, and consultancy services. Find out more.

AeroInside Blog
Popular aircraft
Airbus A320
Boeing 737-800
Boeing 737-800 MAX
Popular airlines
American Airlines
Air Canada
British Airways