An alert pilot on MH132 raised concerns eight minutes after taking off from Auckland as the flight path differed from the usual route. – The Malaysian Insider file pic.
Investigations will be carried out after a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) pilot questioned why the flight path from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur differed slightly on Christmas Day, reports the New Zealand Herald today.
The pilot on flight MH132 raised concerns eight minutes after take-off when his Airbus A330 was instructed to fly further south than usual.
The plane, which left at 2.23am Christmas Day (7.23am Malaysian time) was heading towards Melbourne rather than a more direct flight path to Kuala Lumpur.
The Auckland Oceanic control centre informed him that the flight plan had been given to Airways, which managed air traffic control for New Zealand and South Pacific.
NZ Herald reported that Airways would be probing into the matter. However, the passengers were unaware of the changes.
“The flight plan the airline filed with us was going to Kuala Lumpur but via a slightly different route than the pilot was expecting,” an Airways spokesman was quoted as saying. Airways will “work closely” with Malaysia Airlines to find out how the confusion came about.
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 told NZ Herald.
Flights on the route often travel around the bottom of Australia to avoid bad weather or headwinds, Clark said.
WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan was quoted as saying that the weather between New Zealand and Kuala Lumpur was “fairly calm”, but thunderstorms across northern Australia and Papua New Guinea might have influenced the flight path. – December 27, 2015.
–The Malaysian Insider