Yet another Malaysia Airlines goodie entertains us today, except that it’s no laughing matter. One of their planes flew in the wrong direction following a New Zealand departure on Christmas Day.
After their departure from Auckland, New Zealand the aircraft followed an incorrect route towards Melbourne, Australia which the pilots noticed a few minutes later and made corrections to it’s course.
Based on news reports this mix up happened because the aircraft followed an old flight plan and not the one handed over to aviation authorities.
You can read more about it in the New Zealand Herald (access here).
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. …
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.”
Both routes would have lead the aircraft eventually to their destination and there was also enough fuel on board but it leaves one wondering how easy an aircraft can go on a different path. Especially in light of the still missing MH370 airliner which disappeared almost 2 years ago.
There is also a way to follow the planes path:
You can access above map on Flightradar24 (see here).
This oversight has been quickly corrected without any consequences. It’s worrying though that such a thing isn’t double checked prior to departure as one would expect it.
Malaysia Airlines is working on turning it’s image and fortunes around after the loss of two aircraft in 2014 and a restructuring program that included appointing a foreign CEO. I’m not sure such incidents help accomplishing that target.