Sussex

Gatwick Airport plane lands without clearance

An investigation is under way after a passenger plane landed at Gatwick Airport without clearance.

An airport controller instructed the pilot to abort the landing because the runway was occupied by another aircraft that had already landed, National Air Traffic Services (Nats) said.

The crew of the Boeing 737 acknowledged the instruction to "go-around", but the aircraft continued to land, it said.

The incident happened at 18:50 GMT on Monday.

Nats said standard language was used by the controller who began to give surface wind conditions to the aircraft, which usually precedes a landing clearance, before issuing the "go-around" command.

'Illegal thing to do'

It is understood that the other aircraft was exiting the runway as the plane came in to land.

At the time the plane landed, the runway was no longer occupied and safety was not jeopardised at any time, the Nats spokesman added.

Aviation expert David Learmount described the incident as "pretty unusual".

"Disobeying an air traffic control order is an illegal thing to do on the international stage," he said.

He added that the aircraft on the runway would have been "way ahead" of the plane that landed.

The Civil Aviation Authority said it had not received a report from Nats, which usually took 24 to 48 hours to reach them.

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