Malaysia Airlines plane flies in wrong direction on the way to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Originally published on 28 December, 2015

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A miscommunication caused a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet to head in the wrong direction rather than follow its intended route during a Christmas Day flight from New Zealand, Malaysia Airlines said in a statement.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH132 en route to Kuala Lumpur from New Zealand took off at 7:23 a.m. local time on December 25. Eight minutes into the flight, the pilot was instructed to fly the Airbus A330 south toward Melbourne. The pilot raised his concern to the air traffic control, but continued to follow instructions, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The updated instruction came from the airline’s Operations Dispatch Centre, while the plan that Flight MH132 had been following was the original directive given to Auckland's Air Traffic Control, according to the statement.

"Both routes were following an approved flight path and the aircraft had enough fuel for both routes. The safety of both passengers and crew were never compromised at any time,” according to the statement.

After heading south for almost an hour, the pilot redirected the aircraft northwest across the Tasman Sea toward the Malaysian capital.

"The flight plan the airline filed with us was going to Kuala Lumpur but via a slightly different route than the pilot was expecting," a spokeswoman from Airways, New Zealand's air navigation provider, told the New Zealand Herald.

Airways confirmed the incident on Sunday and said it would investigate the matter. Reports say the the passengers on board were not aware of the mix-up.


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