A freshly-published report by Spanish air traffic control officials investigated a near-collision at Tenerife airport in 2011. The case involved a Finnair Boeing 757 and a similar craft operated by Thomas Cook Airlines, each carrying more than 200 passengers.
Spanish air traffic control officials have reprimanded Finnair pilots for being too slow to take evasive action to avoid another craft back in 2011. Part of the reason for the near crash was a radar malfunction in the air traffic control tower.
At one point in their descent trajectories, the distance between the aircraft was as little as 1.7 kilometres.
“Although the planes breached the normal separation distance, they were in no real danger because in these situations the avoidance systems provide guidelines for the pilots to take evasive action,” said Finnair communications chief Arja Suominen.
However according to the report, Spanish officials felt that the Finnair pilots had not reacted quickly enough.