PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines today said the pilots of a plane which nearly collided with another aircraft over west London earlier this week had followed their assigned heading and all standard operating procedures (SOP) for such situations.
In a statement, it said flight MH4 which was headed for London Heathrow from Kuala Lumpur on Oct 23, was preparing to land when air traffic controllers (ATC) told the pilots that the runway was still occupied by another plane.
It said MH4 was instructed to commence a go-around and given an assigned heading towards the north of the airfield which would place the aircraft at the base position for Runway 27R.
“The pilots in charge followed SOP for such instances and gave ATC a read-back to the assigned heading.
“Further, no traffic alert and collision avoidance system was triggered in the cockpit,” it said.
It added that before MH4 reached the assigned position, the ATC had asked the pilots to head in a different direction which they complied with.
“Safety is of utmost importance to Malaysia Airlines, and all our pilots go through very strict and comprehensive training,” it said, adding that they were required to complete 4,500 hours before being accorded captain status.
According to reports, the Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350-900 came into conflict with a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Shanghai as it was turning into its final approach for Runway 27 at London Heathrow.
UK’s Aviation News said both planes were at 3,400ft when controllers were heard issuing instructions for MH4 to turn off its present heading.
Following several attempts, it said, controllers told the Virgin crew to break off from its approach and turn immediately south.
Both planes were able to make safe landings at the airport, with their crews expected to file reports to the UK AirProx Board which assesses air proximity incidents in the interests of enhancing air safety.