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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 September 2018

Emirates A380 almost collides with another plane over Mauritius

A smaller plane was forced to veer off course to avoid the world's largest passenger jet over the main airport of Mauritius

An Emirates Airbus A380 almost collided with an Air Seychelles flight over Mauritius last week.. Ollie Dale / AFP
An Emirates Airbus A380 almost collided with an Air Seychelles flight over Mauritius last week.. Ollie Dale / AFP

An Emirates A380 was beginning its descent into Mauritius when it narrowly avoided a mid-air collision with another plane.

An aviation report found a crew member on board the Emirates airbus — the world's biggest passenger jet — incorrectly reported the plane's altitude as it prepared to descend into Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Mauritius last Friday.

An Air Seychelles flight had just taken off at the same time, and was cleared to climb to the same altitude — into the direct path of the A380.

The captain of the Air Seychelles flight, bound for Mahe Island, was forced to take quick action and make a sharp turn to avoid the impending mid-air collision.

An Aviation Herald report found miscommunication arose after air traffic control advised the Emirates crew of the correct altitude they were cleared to descend to. The Emirates crew member read back the wrong number — lower than they were supposed to be descending — and air-traffic controllers did not correct them.

As the A380 descended into the path of the ascending Air Seychelles flight, the crews of both flights could see each other.

Both flights received TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) resolution advisories, prompting the Air Seychelles flight to veer sharply to the right.

The two aircraft then passed each other at exactly the same altitude, but 14 kilometres apart.

A spokesperson for Emirates said they had "received reports of an event on July 14, 2017 in relation to aircraft separation involving flight EK 703 in Mauritius airspace".

"The matter has been reported to the respective air transport authorities and Emirates will extend its full co-operation to any investigation. The safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance."

Air Seychelles has been contacted for comment.

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