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Preventing Runway Incursions - The importance of Prepositions

Line up Behind ……………..or Before!!!!!!

A few weeks ago, the following exchange was heard at a major international airport

Controller: XXXX. Behind the landing A320 , via Alpha line up runway XX and wait behind

Pilot 1: Line up be…be………. before landing A320 , XXXXX

Controller: XXXX Negative, Negative, hold position, I say again Hold position

Pilot 2: Holding position, but if it helps we can line up and wait behind the landing A320, XXXX

Both the Controller and Pilot 2 (believed to be the Captain) were native English speakers whereas Pilot 1 was a non-native English speaker.

The speedy response by both the Controller and Captain is reassuring, but it begs the question was there a real risk of a runway incursion or was this simply a language error.

It certainly increased the heart rate of the Controller!

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