An investigation has been launched after a Malaysia Airlines plane took off from Auckland Airport on Christmas Day and surprised the pilot with the direction it started flying. The pilot on flight MH132 raised concerns eight minutes after take-off when his Airbus A330 was instructed to fly further south than usual.
The New Zealand Herald said that the plane, which left at 2.23 am Christmas Day was heading towards Melbourne rather than a more direct flight path to Kuala Lumpur. During discussions with air traffic controllers at the Auckland Oceanic control centre, the pilot was informed of the flight plan his airline had given to Airways, which manages air traffic control for New Zealand and South Pacific.
He then continued across the Tasman Sea before heading northwest to Kuala Lumpur.
Although there were no apparent safety concerns with the confusion, Airways yesterday confirmed it was investigating.
"We have an internal safety team who will investigate it," a spokeswoman 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."
Airways will "work closely" with the much-maligned carrier to find out how the confusion came about, the spokeswoman 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 by a Russian-made missile over Ukraine in July.