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Close shave as passenger planes escape mid-air collision

The PIA spokesperson added that the descent would have come in the path of the Boeing 777 plane, but the TCAS system automatically guided the planes and corrected their paths, Dawn reported. Picture: AP Photo/File

The PIA spokesperson added that the descent would have come in the path of the Boeing 777 plane, but the TCAS system automatically guided the planes and corrected their paths, Dawn reported. Picture: AP Photo/File

Published Jul 26, 2022

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Islamabad – A major tragedy was averted as two Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) planes escaped a mid-air collision over Iranian territory on Sunday, according to media reports.

The planes got extremely close to each other due to the alleged “negligence” of the Iranian Air Traffic Control (ATC), Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported.

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The news report quoted sources as saying that one of the planes was a PIA Boeing 777 (PK-211) flying from Islamabad to Dubai, while the other was an Airbus A-320 (PK-268) that was travelling from Doha to Peshawar.

Captain Samiullah was flying the Airbus A-320 while captain Athar Haroon was flying the Boeing 777, according to the news report.

The two planes followed the standard practice as one was asked to ascend while the other was asked to descend.

The Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), which is inbuilt in all planes, guides the aircraft by communicating with the TCASs of other planes.

"The PIA is writing to the Iranian air traffic control (ATC) to investigate as the Iranian ATC instructed the plane, but it was wrong," a PIA spokesman said according to media reports.

The spokesperson added that the Boeing 777 plane was flying at an altitude of 35 000 feet while the Airbus A-320 was maintaining a 36 000 feet altitude.

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The Airbus A-320 plane was cleared to descend to 20 000 feet, local media reported citing the PIA spokesperson.

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The PIA spokesperson added that the descent would have come in the path of the Boeing 777 plane, but the TCAS system automatically guided the planes and corrected their path, Dawn reported.

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