The Independent spreads fake news about a near-miss at 35,000ft

Independent fake news tweet
Independent fake news tweet

Liberal newspaper “The Independent” has been caught spreading fake news about a supposed near-miss at 35,000ft.

The newspaper posted a video online that it claimed showed a near miss at 35,000ft. The video involved an Aer Lingus flight and and another four engine aircraft of an unknown airline.

Under the title “Plane’s ‘near miss’ at 35,000 ft filmed by passenger on Aer Lingus flight” they showed the following video to supports its claims.

The Independent claims this video shows a “near miss” (used under fair use reporting rights)

Unfortunately for The Independent, Aer Lingus quickly debunked the video and stated: “Hi @Independent, this was not a near miss. All of our flights operate in controlled airspace, where separation standards are enforced by Air Traffic Control in accordance with international rules of the air. At no time was there any reduction in normal safety margins.”

Aer Lingus response

This was followed up by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) who added “Thank you @AerLingus for highlighting the importance of international air separation standards to flight safety, and the deep and continuous commitment of #ATC and ANSP to their proper implementation.

Flights between 29,000ft (Flight Level 290) and 41,000ft (FL410) are operated under what is known as Reduced Vertical Seperation Minima (RVSM). This means that aircraft are kept at flight levels at least 1000ft apart from each other, something that is clearly shown in the video.

One example is air traffic across france where air traffic flying southbound will fly at 1000ft intervals at odd levels, i.e. 31,000ft, 33,000ft, 35,000ft where as northbound traffic will fly at even flight levels i.e. 32,000ft, 34,000ft and 36,000ft.

This video though is indicative of a wider problem in what is known as mainstream media and that is the need to sensationalise non-events. Another good example is the crosswind landing videos that get thousands of shares. Mainstream media show these because we share them, and that earns them money. Its that simple.

It doesn’t matter that in reality, its a non-event or even fake, what matters is that people will gasp and share, and give the outlet clicks.

Of course the real questions is why The Independent didn’t report on the clear Chem Trails…

The Aer Lingus Response in Full


About Nick Harding 847 Articles
Nick is the senior reporter and editor at UK Aviation News as well as working freelance elsewhere. He has his finger firmly on the pulse on Aviation, not only in the UK but worldwide. Nick has been asked to speak in a professional capacity on LBC, Heart and other broadcast networks.