Friday, October 05, 2012

Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800: Plane was 'never lost'

AIRSERVICES Australia has denied a Virgin Australia plane disappeared from radar while traveling over northern NSW and past the Gold Coast.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating an incident in which an aircraft's details were "inadvertently inhibited'' for more than 30 minutes during a flight from Sydney to Brisbane on Friday.

Some media reports suggest the jet was lost by air traffic controllers 

But an Airservices Australia spokesman said there was a change in the colour coding of the icon representing the plane but information such as altitude, direction and speed had still been displayed, The Australian reports.

The incident started as the plane flew over Evans Head, south of Byron Bay and lasted about 30 minutes as the jet made its way past the Gold Coast to Brisbane.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau notes there was a "loss of separation assurance''.

"It was reported that the aircraft's details were inadvertently inhibited in the air traffic management system for approximately 30 minutes,'' the ATSB website states.

Website Crikey said the incident saw the plane become an "invisible projectile'' in what was a dangerous incident.

But the Airservices Australia spokesman denied the claims.

"The aircraft was never lost to Airservices air traffic controllers and continued to be displayed on air traffic control displays managing the airspace,'' he said.

The plane landed safely.


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