27 Dec 2015

Pilot sent in different direction to flight plan

8:32 pm on 27 December 2015

The Malaysia Airlines pilot who questioned his flight path after being sent in an unexpected direction after leaving Auckland airport did everything right, says an aviation commentator.

Air traffic controllers are investigating the Christmas Day mix-up.

Airways, which monitors New Zealand's airspace, said the incident took place when MH132 left Auckland for Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

A few minutes into the flight, the pilot questioned the direction air traffic control was sending the plane.

An Airways spokesperson said air traffic controllers were working from the flight plan Malaysia Airlines had filed with them, which turned out to differ from the plan given to the pilot.

The spokesperson said both plans were established routes and there was no danger to the plane or passengers.

She said Airways was able to provide the pilot with the correct flight plan immediately.

Aviation commentator Peter Clark said it was not uncommon for flights to head in a differing direction to their destination.

"He queried a track that he was assigned by his own people and he accepted it for his aircraft. He felt that he may have been too far south, he noticed that eight minutes out from Auckland, he queried that track with NZ authorities who were the administrators of that airspace.

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