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EasyJet pilots abandon landing as plane approaches Alps runway 1,500 feet below usual height

An easyJet plane from Edinburgh was ordered to abandon a landing at Geneva airport and climb steeply after it flew “significantly below” the usual approach to the Swiss airport.

The airline says: “At no point was the safety of those onboard compromised.”

Reports in aviation media say the aircraft was just 754 feet above Lake Geneva when the pilots initiated a “go-around” – abandoning the landing and flying to a safe height before initiating another approach.

Flight 3291 had taken off normally from the Scottish capital on 5 November 2023 for the 786-mile flight to Geneva. The Airbus A320 had a crew of six and was carrying 157 passengers for a trip scheduled to take two hours and 15 minutes.

The easyJet plane was cleared to land on the airport’s runway 22, approaching from the northeast towards the southwest. This approach takes aircraft over the lake, which is surrounded by high terrain.

The Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board has published a brief summary of the aircraft involved and the statement: “During the approach to runway 22, the plane descended significantly below the glide slope and the flight crew initiated a go-around.”

After the “go-around” the plane landed normally. The investigation is continuing.

Reports on the aviation website Simple Flying and elsewhere say that the aircraft was about 1,500 feet below the usual position at that distance from the runway. Geneva airport is itself 190 feet higher than the surface of the lake.

An easyJet spokesperson told The Independent: “We are fully supporting the investigation in line with procedures.

“At no point was the safety of those onboard compromised. The safety and wellbeing of passengers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority.”

The two pilots involved were temporarily stood down, and are now flying again. After the incident the jet flew back to Edinburgh and made a further return trip from the Scottish capital to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands that day.

The aircraft was almost brand new, having been delivered only in June 2023.

As a modern, fuel-efficient aircraft it is used for some of easyJet’s longest flights, including the 2,762-mile journey from Belfast to Hurghada in Egypt.

In terms of the number of passengers flown without a fatal accident, easyJet is second safest in the world – after Ryanair.

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