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* Vigilant SriLankan pilots avert mid-air collision with British Airways
Wed, Jun 15, 2022, 12:34 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 15, Colombo: A SriLankan Airlines flight UL 504 en route from London to Colombo averted a mid-air collision with a British Airways flight over Turkey yesterday preventing a catastrophe due to the vigilance of the SriLankan pilots, reports from Colombo said.

Flight UL 504 took off from London Heathrow Airport and landed safely at Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport last evening.

According to reports, SriLankan Airlines Flight UL-504 A-330 Airbus with 275 passengers and 15 crew departing from Heathrow Airport in London for Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport had entered Turkish airspace at around 10.30 am.

At the time, the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet, connecting with the main air traffic control room in Ankara, Turkey.

The Ankara air traffic control has then instructed UL 504 to climb to 35,000 feet from 33,000 feet.

Due to the instructions given by the Air Traffic Control Center at Ankara to take the SriLankan flight to the path of the British Airways flight the crew have taken steps to immediately inform the relevant authorities in this regard.

Questioning the instructions, the SriLankan pilot and the crew, with the radar equipment of his aircraft have observed that a British Airways flight just 15 miles away from them flying at 35,000 feet and had informed the air traffic control at Ankara that there was a flight already above.

At that time, the distance between the two aircraft was as close as 15 miles, and the SriLankan pilot has realized that an accident could have occurred if he had approached the altitude instructed by the Ankara air traffic control.

The SriLankan pilot had informed the Ankara air traffic control once again about the situation. Minutes later the Ankara air traffic control had urgently informed the SriLankan pilot of the presence of the British Airways flight and instructed the UL plane to remain at 33,000 feet.

The British Airways flight which also had more than 250 passengers and crew on board had left Heathrow for Dubai shortly after the UL flight had taken off but was traveling faster than the SriLankan flight.

If the UL flight followed the Turkish Air Traffic Control instructions and climbed to an altitude of 35,000 feet, it would have been a catastrophe as the British Airways plane was flying at a faster speed than the SriLankan Airlines plane and the two planes were likely to collide in mid-air.

SriLankan Airlines flight UL 504 and its crew were able to avoid a major accident and landed safely at the Katunayake International Airport with 275 passengers on board, airport sources said. A report has been filed on the incident, sources said.


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