EasyJet planes are seen at Luton Airport
easyJet is a low-budget airline headquartered at London Luton Airport | Photo: Reuters

An easyJet flight had a precariously close call as it was "seconds away" from crashing into Lake Geneva on November 5, 2023.

The incident happened with an Airbus A320 Neo, which took off from Edinburgh Airport with 157 passengers and was due to land at Geneva's Cointrin Airport. The aircraft suffered a dangerous dip in altitude while it was above Lake Geneva, one of the largest lakes in Western Europe.

The easyJet flight, which was three times lower than it should have been, was just 30 seconds away from crashing into the water in the Alps before the Swiss air traffic controllers alerted the pilots about their critical situation. The officials asked the pilots to "check your altitude immediately", while the jet was still around 7.5 miles away from the runway.

A flight usually needs to be at least 700 metres above the surface. But the easyJet plane was supposedly just 230 metres up. Had the Swiss Air Traffic Control (ATC) not intervened just in time, the journey for those 157 passengers, along with the crew members, would have turned horrific and possibly fatal too, according to reports in the local media.

The pilots onboard the easyJet flight instantly speeded the plane up and circled over the French commune Thonon-les-Bains, avoiding a massive disaster. The flight did go around for a while before safely landing on a second attempt. Following the incident, the pilots were supposedly asked not to work for a brief period, as a part of standard procedures, but they eventually resumed their flying duties.

A few media reports have claimed that the incident may have occurred after the pilots decided to take a "shortcut route". The route would have taken the aircraft between Gland and Rolle which would have led the plane to drop altitude due to the Jura mountains.

"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," an easyJet spokesperson told The Mirror.

Swiss officials have launched an investigation into the easyJet episode and is currently ongoing.

The Swiss Safety Investigation Service (SESE) told a local paper: "During the approach to runway 22, the aircraft descended significantly below the glideslope and the flight crew initiated a go-around."

Over the month, the airline industry has experienced many safety-related issues. A United Airlines flight made an emergency landing on Jan. 31 after one of its engines shut down mid-air.

Another United Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing due to a cracked windshield. The incident happened on a flight that was travelling from Las Vegas to Washington DC on Jan. 28.