Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jet flight ‘vanished’ for 30 minutes over Germany

Five days after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared mysteriously last month, a Jet Airways flight from London to Mumbai was reported missing for more than 30 minutes while flying over Germany, causing German aviation authorities to panic and subsequently complain to the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

Documents accessed by The Indian Express show that the DGCA has launched an inquiry after its German counterpart complained that on March 13, pilots of flight 9W117 lost communication with air traffic authorities in Germany and did not respond through much of the duration of the flight over German airspace.

The flight was a Boeing 777-300ER jet with the registration VT-JEG. It was manufactured in 2007 and had a seating capacity of 312 passengers.

“The communication with the flight was lost for around 30 minutes over German airspace. German authorities panicked as it came close on the heels of the incident involving MH370,” an Indian official said.
Acting on the German complaint, a preliminary investigation body (PIB) of the DGCA convened a meeting in Mumbai on March 25 to discuss the issue.

A Jet Airways spokesperson confirmed the incident when reached by The Indian Express.

“The Jet Airways flight 9W 117 was between London and Mumbai where communication was lost over German airspace as the crew overlooked increasing the speaker volume after removing the headphones. This was investigated by the regulator and the pilots were off flying for two weeks. The report has been sent to the German authorities for closure.”

A DGCA official involved in the inquiry corroborated this version and said the pilots, had in their official deposition submitted that both of them had “removed their headphones”, resulting in a break in communication.

However, the incident is being construed as “serious” since the aircraft was out of contact for a full 30 minutes, just days after the Malaysian airliner incident.