Officials launched an investigation after a Malaysia Airlines plane appeared to fly in the wrong direction after taking off from New Zealand on Christmas Day — the New Zealand Herald reported. The pilot of flight MH132 asked air traffic controllers why his plane was heading so far south on his route to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
A spokeswoman for Airways – the company that manages air traffic control for New Zealand and the South Pacific – said they will look into the issue. “We have an internal safety team who will investigate it,” she said. “The flight plan the airline filed with us was going to Kuala Lumpur but via a slightly different route than the pilot was expecting.”
Passengers on board the flight were not made aware of the situation and there were no apparent safety concerns. New Zealand aviation commentator and author Peter Clark praised the pilot for his actions. “The pilot has done a very good job by noticing it, querying it and not just blindly flying off and ending up in the Southern Ocean,” Clark said.
Last year, 577 crew and passengers lost their lives on two separate Malaysia Airlines flights. Flight MH370 disappeared between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing for unknown reasons in March and MH17 was shot down over Ukraine by a Russian-made missile in July. Clark said if Malaysia Airlines is now a responsible airline, “which I hope it is after everything that has happened,” it would ask for an explanation and investigate.