Air Seychelles pilot a hero, Emirates Airlines A380 pilot in trouble, passengers extremely lucky!


The hero was the pilot of an Air Seychelles Airbus A330-243 operated as HM 54 flying from Mauritius to  Seychelles. In trouble is the pilot of Emirates Airlines, flying an A380 super jumbo as EK703 from Dubai to Mauritius. Hundreds of passengers that flew over the Southern Indian Ocean on Friday are extremely lucky to be alive after they escaped some dangerous skies over Mauritius.

“The Emirates Airline pilot will be in trouble if I file a report. If you are not filing a report I will close the matter as well.” These are the words of Mauritius Air Traffic Controller to the Air Seychelles Airbus 330 pilot the most likely largest civil airline disaster was avoided two days ago over the Indian Ocean on an air route between the Seychelles and Mauritius. The report was filed anyway – and the outcome is pending.

An Airbus A380 Super Jumbo operated by Dubai based Emirates Airlines, and an Airbus A330 operated by Air Seychelles almost collided, if it wasn’t for a quick heroic action by the Air Seychelles Pilot.

Both crews were visual with each other, received TCAS resolution advisories, in addition HM-54 turned right. Position data off transponders of both aircraft shows that the horizontal separation between the aircraft was about 7.5nm when both aircraft passed through Flight leval 360 at 0 feet vertical separation and was about 4nm when the vertical separation between the aircraft reached 1000 feet again with EK-703 below FL360 and HM-54 leveling off at Flight level 370.

Here is what happened:
On 14th July 2017, Emirates 703 (EK703) an Airbus A380-861 from Dubai (DXB) to Mauritius (MRU) was cruising at an altitude of 40,000 Feet before requesting descent to Mauritius for Runway 14. Seychelles 054 (HM054) an Airbus A330-243 was leaving Mauritius for Seychelles and given clearance by Mauritius ATC to climb and maintain 37,000 Ft. Upon requesting descent, EK703 was given clearance to descend and maintain 38,000 Ft due to crossing HM054 at time 13:07(UTC). EK703 read back Flight Level 360 (36,000 Ft) to Mauritius ATC instead of Flight Level 380 (38,000 Ft).

Why are the ATC in manual? Why nor SSR or Primary Radar in use? ICAO should conduct a study if this is a busy international Air Route and if that’s the case this region should be recomended to provide SSR (Secondary Service) for the safe and efficient conduct of flight which was the main objective of providing an Air Traffic Control Service.

Emirates Airlines is not without dark secrets, as the video below

Numerous reports talk about Emirates pilots to be overworked and often fly fatigue.  If a pilot is tired and calls in sick, Emirates management will punish him or her>

Another worker for Emirates has a different story to tell: “I work for Emirates and nothing from what she is saying is true. I joined them in June 2012 and I am extremely happy at Emirates and proud to work for Emirates. I am even planning to retire with them. They are extremely fair and transparent in their benefits for the employees. All policies and procedure are clear. Nothing is hidden. Emirates is one of the best companies in the world which is very well-managed, period.”

  • David

    Please let’s look at the facts and advance air safety by seeing where it went wrong so others can learn from human or system errors. The EK pilots mis-understood the flight level he was cleared down to and when he read back the instruction the air traffic controller did not register the error. The controller advised both the Air Seychelles and Emirates pilots of their proximities. Both aircraft are mandatorily equipped with TCAS equipment that alert crews and also takes evasive action when trajectories are predicted to be conflicting. This is what happened and the Air Seychelles aircraft took evasive action as per set procedure. Don’t dramatize and there are no heros here. This is not an uncommon occurrence in aviation. What I did find a concern is the controller asking if the pilot would be filing a report. It is mandatory in the interest of flight safety to do so. In summary flight safety has improved by leaps and bounds by developing a just culture and transparency. This article on the event does not foster this spirit in my humble view.

    • Rainer

      David, I totally agree. The shocking element of this article is the inactivity by the controller and the fact that apparently he/she asked whether to file a report.

      • GEOFFREY Bokot

        I think the controller should not be excited. He was in the control room to pick the read back from the pilot!! Why didn’t he hear the read back? Is his/her hearing impaired? The CAA must find out why he could not pick the read back. If there are Human Factor issues it should be investigated to avoid a repeat. This is the spirit. But the controller must be honest and say why he could not get the read back for a purpose of correcting the pilot.

        Geoffrey Okot

  • Why dramatise the whole fact with such a misleading title?

    The air traffic controller is at fault

    The air traffic controller is in a more less noisy place than the pilot with an A380 with 4 engines noises

    If the Pilot misunderstood the instruction and readed it to the air traffic controller, what was the job of the ATC? to correct the pilot

    but he didn’t

    Instead he moved forward to ask their proximities etc

    so basically the fault is the ATC and not the pilot

    THe ATC needs to be updated anyway

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