News

Malaysia Airlines pilot queries flight path

NZH

AN investigation has been launched after a Malaysia Airlines plane took off from Auckland Airport on Christmas Day and surprised the pilot with the direction it started flying.

Just eight minutes into the direct flight to Kuala Lumpur, MH132's pilot queried why his Airbus A330 was heading so far south.

He wondered why the plane was heading towards Melbourne and not taking a more direct flight path to the Malaysian capital.

It is understood passengers on board the flight, which left at 2.23am Christmas Day, were not alerted to the mix-up.

During discussions with air traffic controllers at the Auckland Oceanic control centre, the pilot was informed of the flight plan his airline had given to Airways, which manages air traffic control for New Zealand and South Pacific.

He then continued across the Tasman Sea before heading northwest to Kuala Lumpur.

Although there were no apparent safety concerns with the confusion, Airways yesterday confirmed it was investigating.

"We have an internal safety team who will investigate it," a spokeswoman said.

"The flight plan the airline filed with us was going to Kuala Lumpur but via a slightly different route than the pilot was expecting."

Airways will "work closely" with the much-maligned carrier to find out how the confusion came about, the spokeswoman said.

Last year, 577 crew and passengers lost their lives on two separate Malaysia Airlines flights. Flight MH370 disappeared between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing for unknown reasons in March and MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made missile over Ukraine in July.

The airline did not respond to requests for comment.

New Zealand aviation commentator Peter Clark praised the pilot for his actions.

"The pilot has done a very good job by noticing it, querying it and not just blindly flying off and ending up in the Southern Ocean," he said.

He said if Malaysia Airlines was now a responsible airline, "which I hope it is after everything that has happened", it would ask for an explanation and investigate.

Flights on the route often travel around the bottom of Australia to avoid bad weather or head-winds, Clark said.

"The pilot was probably not used to going that far south."

WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said he flew out of Auckland this week in "perfect conditions". A large high was settling across the Tasman Sea.

The weather between New Zealand and Kuala Lumpur was "fairly calm", but Duncan said thunderstorms across northern Australia and Papua New Guinea may have influenced Malaysia Airlines' preferred route.

- Herald on Sunday

Topics:  editors picks, malaysia airlines




Here's 7 really cool jobs up for grabs in Gladstone

Reef off Heron Island - Courtesy of GAPDL

Ever wanted to live and work on an island?

Watch our reporter squirm taking on death by chicken wings challenge

Could you take on Central Lane Hotel's death by chicken wing challenge?

Could you take on Gladstone's death by wings challenge?

Teen "laughs hysterically" in short-lived dash from cops

FILE PHOTO: Gladstone Courthouse, Yarroon St.

Laughing escapee gets more jail time when she flees Gladstone police

Latest deals and offers

Kate McKinnon 'destitute' before SNL

Kate McKinnon says she can't do anything but act

FBI investigating Leslie Jones website hack

The FBI are investigating Leslie Jones' personal website hack

Katy Perry: 'I stay normal with therapy'

Katy Perry says she relies on therapy to help her 'stay normal'

World's highest-paid actor revealed

The highest-paid actors in the world have been revealed

Jessica Alba regrets her tattoos

Jessica Alba regrets getting her tattoos

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson highest paid actor in world

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

Johnson earned almost $20 million more than Jennifer Lawrence

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Gladstone landlords in trouble with Bechtel job losses

"If a big project was announced tomorrow I wouldn't want to see it"