x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Near-miss involving Sharjah-bound flight under investigation

Investigation taking place into whether Qatar Airways aircraft or Air Arabia plane bound for Sharjah strayed off course.

DUBAI // Indian authorities are trying to determine whether a Qatar Airways aircraft or an Air Arabia plane bound for Sharjah strayed off course in flight yesterday, and flew too close to the other plane.

An investigation is being carried out by Directorate General of Civil Aviation officers in Mumbai, in whose airspace the incident is believe to have occurred.

“Officers are there, and they are investigating,” a DGCA official said today, by phone from Mumbai on the condition of anonymity. “Who violated this separation and whether it happened in our [airspace] ... We are all looking into it.”

He declined to provide further details until more information emerged from the official investigation, which he said might be available today.

Indian newspaper the Hindustan Times said today that a preliminary report by local air traffic controllers found that one of the planes had strayed off its flight path by 100 feet, breaching the required minimum vertical distance of 1,000 feet.

It added that the Traffic Collision Avoidance System, a device on the plane, had issued an alert to warn pilots to adjust their course.

The Qatar Airways plane had been travelline from Doha to Kozhikode (Calicut) in southern India and the Air Arabia from Kozhikode to Sharjah, the report said.

The Sharjah-based Air Arabia and Qatar Airways were not immediately available for comment.

chuang@thenational.ae