Linate airport tragedy: pilot error

The accident at Linate airport, Milan, in which a Scandinavian SAS aircraft collided with a Cessna, causing 118 deaths, has been confirmed as pilot error.

In the thick fog at Milan’s Linate airport, the Cessna 52SA Citation Jet II crossed the path of the SAS MD-87 flying Milan to Copenhagen at 09.15 on October 8th as it was reaching maximum take-off speed. The 104 passengers and 6 crew on board the MD-87 were killed, along with the two pilots and two passengers on board the Cessna and four workers in the hanger, into which the SAS aircraft crashed after collision. A further three workers are in hospital, one in serious condition.

The Italian Civil Aviation Authorities, Enav, have confirmed that the information given by the Air Traffic Controllers at the airport would have taken the Cessna into a safe waiting position for take-off. It is thought the German pilots on board the Cessna were taking a short-cut, either on purpose or due to the extremely low visibility, which led the aircraft into the path of the MD-87.

This incident is exactly what the airline industry did not need at this moment of extreme sensitivity, following the slump in air travel after the September 11th attacks.


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