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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".