Mid-air collision averted in Pakistan

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 16:49

Lahore: A possible collision between
aeroplanes of the Pakistan International Airlines and Pakistan
Air Force was averted last week, with the aircraft coming
within 500 feet of each other, officials said on Wednesday.

The officials, who did not want to be named, said PIA
flight PK-370, an Airbus aircraft, took off from Karachi for
Islamabad in the evening on April 14 after taking flight
height and route approvals from air traffic controllers.

While the PIA flight was above Sheikhupura in Punjab
province at 8:15 pm, a PAF jet was cruising at 26,000 feet
above sea level, a height that would soon to be attained by
the PIA aircraft while descending towards Islamabad.

The officials said the air traffic control personnel
gave an order to PK-370 to descend and asked it to change
frequency and get connected to the air field controller in
Islamabad.

During the frequency switch-over procedure, the PIA
flight was at the same height at which the PAF aircraft was
cruising.

"The pilot in command of the PIA flight, with the help
of technical gadgets, put the throttle to full power, stopped
the descent and ascended to a safe height, thus avoiding a
mid-air collision," a pilot said.

The pilot said the PIA`s cockpit crew was totally
dependent on technology in the aircraft and the air traffic
controller`s advice.

"The question in this case is why did the ATC advise
switching off frequency and descend for Islamabad
simultaneously when there was traffic in the airspace?

"Even if the ATC did not have knowledge of the correct
height of the PAF aircraft, it was wrong," he said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 16:49

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