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Air traffic controller suspended due to 2-aircraft safe distance violation in central Vietnam

Air traffic controller suspended due to 2-aircraft safe distance violation in central Vietnam

Saturday, June 22, 2024, 15:57 GMT+7
Air traffic controller suspended due to 2-aircraft safe distance violation in central Vietnam
Air traffic controllers work at a control center in Vietnam. Photo: Thuy Dung / Tuoi Tre

An air traffic controller was temporarily suspended from duty to facilitate the investigation into an incident where he confused two flights with nearly identical flight numbers, resulting in two aircraft violating safe airspace distance under the jurisdiction of the Ho Chi Minh Area Control Center (ACC Ho Chi Minh).

The incident occurred around 6:30 am on Wednesday, as confirmed by Dinh Viet Thang, director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Friday. 

At that time, ACC Ho Chi Minh was managing 12 flights. 

The incident involved a conflict warning between flights HVN 1575, HVN 1557, and VJC 244, where the similar flight numbers HVN 1575 and HVN 1557 led to the confusion. 

During this period, the air traffic controller directed HVN 1557 from Hanoi to Da Lat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong to adjust its flight level, mistaking it for HVN 1575. 

Meanwhile, VJC 244 from Ho Chi Minh City to the north-central province of Thanh Hoa maintained a flight level close to HVN 1557.

“This incident resulted in aircraft with flight numbers HVN 1575 and VJC 244 traveling in opposite directions maintaining the same altitude, separated by only eight nautical miles, approximately 15 kilometers,” Thang explained. 

“Safety regulations mandate a horizontal separation of at least 10 nautical miles, approximately 18.5 kilometers.” 

This means that the two planes violated this separation by about three kilometers.

During the incident, both the ground system and the planes’ collision warning systems alerted the pilots and the air traffic controller to the conflict, urging them to manage the situation. 

The staff promptly issued clearance for the two planes to alter their courses, reasserting compliance with horizontal separation regulations.

CAAV’s preliminary assessment classified this incident as a threat to flight safety. 

Southern Air Traffic Services Company has temporarily suspended the involved air traffic controller pending verification of the incident and reporting to relevant authorities as per regulations.

Upon receiving the news, Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation decided to establish a team, led by the head of its quality safety department, for an internal investigation to ascertain the cause of the incident.

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Bao Anh - Tuan Phung / Tuoi Tre News


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