The autopilot of two Air Mauritius A350s abruptly changed their trajectories while flying over Sudan at 23:04 UTC on January 6, 2022, as the aircraft identified a risk of collision.
When aeroplane #MK015 from Paris and flight #MK042 crossed 800 metres apart, they were both flying at 39,000 feet.
Flight #MK042 from Mauritius requested clearance from ATC to climb from 38,000 feet to 40,000 feet.
— AIRLIVE (@airlivenet) January 21, 2022
While aeroplane #MK015 (coming in the opposite direction) was at 39,000 feet, the Sudanese dispatcher granted this permission.
If the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) had not been triggered as a result of the ATC error, lives would have been lost. During the event, the two planes’ co-pilots were on duty.
In a press release, Air Mauritius confirmed the facts: “On the night of January 6, 2022, the minimum spacing required between two aircraft of the company was reduced over the airspace of Khartoum (Sudan).
Flights MK015 from Paris and MK042 from London are operated by two Airbus A350-900s. The control tower (ATC) gave the crew of aircraft MK042 permission to change altitude, and the incident happened during the climb.
The aircraft being equipped with TCAS, the warning and avoidance systems worked. An investigation is underway to determine the origin and causes of this situation.”
The air traffic controller’s responsibility is clearly defined.