Two Ryanair pilots have admitted that they 'forgot' to contact the control tower before landing a Boeing 737 carrying 174 passengers.
The Daily Express reports that the pilots only realised their mistake when they noticed that the night landing lights had not been switched on when they taxied to the gate at Alicante Airport.
It then emerged that the tower, which was being supervised by the Spanish military, had tried to radio the aircraft on an emergency frequency, but the pilots had turned the volume down.
Ryanair told Spanish investigators that this was 'routine' practice as it helped pilots to avoid distractions.
The airline has now been issued with a safety notice and Spain's Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission (CIAIAC) told Ryanair that it had jeopardised the safety of the airport. The traffic controllers were also criticised for their part in the incident.
The plane took off from East Midlands Airport, Leicestershire, at around 7pm on January 6, 2011. It was flown by a 47-year-old Dutch captain and a 22-year-old British co-pilot. The co-pilot was flying as the aircraft approached Alicante.
As a result of the incident, the CIAIAC made ten safety recommendations, including a proposed ban on Ryanair pilots lowering the volume on the emergency frequency and including clearance from air traffic control on its pre-landing checklists.
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