It’s never fun to misplace something…just ask Australian air traffic control…
On March 31st Australian controllers ‘lost’ a Garuda Indonesia flight for several hours on its flight from Bali to Sydney.
A staffing shortage is apparently to blame at the Brisbane control center, and is being investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
In addition to losing the aircraft, the Garuda A330 came in close aviation proximity to an Air Asia X flight and possibly some others:
‘As a result, the Garuda flight, which the system had somehow lost sight of, was cruising unknown to controllers on a general south-easterly heading at 39,000 feet while an Air Asia X A330-300, with fitted with 377 seats, was cruising at 38,000 feet in an opposing north-westerly heading toward Kuala Lumpur, and at some stage while both were in the same area of the outback skies near the remote Curtin airport, the Air Asia X flight was authorized to climb to 40,000 feet, or right through the cruise level assigned to the Garuda flight after its departure from Denpasar.’
In layman’s terms, Aussie ATC didn’t know where the Garuda plane was, and as a result ended up being in the same airspace as the Air Asia X flight for an undetermined period of time.
Also, other airliners would likely have been given ATC directions without the controllers knowing the Garuda flight was there.
Really not good.
For a more detailed report on the events, click HERE.
Image: Flickr [alleswasfliegt]