Sunday, July 15, 2012

Passenger jets in near miss off Dubai

ABU DHABI // Two planes carrying more than 250 passengers and crew were involved in a "near miss" off the Dubai coast. 

On-board warning systems alerted the pilots to the danger of collision and advised one to climb and the other to descend. Both planes continued their journeys without incident.

The incident in April, involving an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah to Istanbul and a flydubai flight from Dubai to Doha, was reported immediately to the General Civil Aviation Authority.

"A situation developed during which the distance between the two aircraft as well as their relative positions and speed had been such that the safety of the aircraft involved may have been compromised," an authority spokesman said yesterday.

The Air Arabia flight had six crew and 147 passengers on board. The flydubai flight had six crew and 94 passengers.

The incident happened at 9.02pm on April 22, five nautical miles west of Dubai International Airport.

The authority said the cause, and the closest distance between the planes, would be disclosed in later reports.

Investigators are studying the data recorders from both flights. "The investigation has not yet determined the cause," the spokesman said.

"Later reports will specify the contributing factors. However, all aspects, opportunities for improvement and system enhancements are considered."

The preliminary report notes a change in air traffic control staff after the Air Arabia flight took off.

"A handover between controllers was conducted at Dubai Air Traffic Control Departures, which meant that another person was communicating with the aircraft on the radio for traffic instructions," it says.

Less than a minute later, the flydubai flight took off from Dubai for Doha.

Air Arabia and flydubai both said yesterday they could not comment on the possible cause of the incident because it was being investigated by the regulator.

But flydubai said it took such incidents seriously and Air Arabia said: "Our flight crew handled the situation safely and in a professional manner."

This is the first near- miss reported to the GCAA, but they are common globally.

In the UK, 35 such incidents involving passenger aircraft were reported in 2010, the most recent data available. Only five involved commercial aircraft, down from 11 in 2009.

In Canada, 105 near misses involving Canadian-registered aircraft were reported in 2011, down from 179 in 2010.

In Australia, it was the most common type of accident and serious incident in 2011, with 11 reported. These include both "aircraft proximity" incidents and the less serious "breakdown of separation".


No comments:

Post a Comment