Air NZ denies reports of Fijian 'near miss'

Air New Zealand has dismissed reports one of its aircraft, about to land in Fiji, was on a collision course with another in the same air space as "sensationalist" media coverage.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAFI) has confirmed it is investigating why a Virgin Australia Boeing 777, bound for Los Angeles, and the Air NZ 767 came close to each other on May 7, about 100 nautical miles out of Nadi.

The Fiji Times said it had been told what could have been a major disaster was avoided when the planes, carrying around passengers and crew, altered course after crew visually sighted oncoming traffic.

Collision avoidance alarms went off in both planes, alerting the pilots that traffic was approaching at the level both had been cleared to fly at, the paper reported.

Air NZ spokeswoman Tracy Mills said both aircraft were in communication with Nadi Air Traffic Control and were aware of each other's location.

"There was no risk of a collision, contrary to media reports. The pilots on board both aircraft followed standard operating procedures to ensure separation between each aircraft was maintained, with the Virgin Australia aircraft passing behind and above the Air New Zealand aircraft. "

Air NZ had spoken with Nadi Air Traffic Control as to why it gave clearance for both aircraft to be in a similar vicinity of each other, she said.

The Fiji Times said the Air NZ plane cleared the Virgin Australia's aircraft's nose by two nautical miles with a vertical clearance of 800 feet, or 245m.

Amanda Bolger, of Virgin Australia, told the newspaper both aircraft were in Nadi air traffic-controlled air space and were aware each of other. She said neither airline was at fault and the "aircraft altered course to maintain separation".






Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter