By Elsa Baxter
Collision avoided after planes come within 800 vertical feet of each other.
Gulf Air insisted on Saturday that no passengers were in danger after one of its planes was nearly involved in a midair collision with a Saudi plane.
The Gulf Air flight from Bahrain to Mumbai was carrying 180 passengers on board when a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane came within 800 vertical feet – 200 feet less than industry guidelines.
Air Traffic Controllers warned the pilot of the intruding Saudia flight, which was carrying 377 passengers on board, Arab News reported.
"The Saudi aircraft had climbed 200 feet without permission from the Air Traffic Control (ATC)," an airport official told the Indian Express.
"The pilot of the Gulf Air aircraft had spotted another aircraft climbing into its airspace on his warning system."
The incident happened on Thursday night involving the Gulf Air GF064 from Bahrain to Mumbai and the Saudi Arabian Airlines SV 601 flying over Mumbai en route to Jeddah from Dhaka.
According to the Gulf Daily News, a Gulf Air spokeswoman confirmed the incident, but played down safety fears.
"We can confirm that GF064 en route from Bahrain to Mumbai on Thursday, November 19 received an alert from the on board TCAS to climb to ensure it was within the regulation 1,000ft vertical separation minima from another aircraft," she said.
"This is standard procedure and at no point was either aircraft or its passengers in any danger."
Perhaps the header for this article could have been revised? Gulf Air was not at fault in this incident, and their pilots responded professionally, so why would they have to defend their safety record in any way? Also, intrusions occur all the time all over the globe, so what is the big deal that led to this article to begin with?
I agree with Waleed's comment regarding the news item's headline. It gives the reader an impression that the Gulf Air aircraft had committed some error. In fact the mistake was with the Saudi flight. But the headline somehow contradicts this. I'd suggest the editors pay extra attention to such news items since this can have an impact on the airline as whole, for no fault of theirs!!