‘Pilot error’ in Doha flight: Biman’s delay in probe may cost it dearly
Biman may face serious consequences for neglecting Qatar Civil Aviation Authority's request for a probe into a close call between a Biman and a Qatar aircraft at Doha airport in January.
Aircraft of Biman and Qatar Airways narrowly escaped a mid-air collision after the Biman pilot deviated from his flight path during simultaneous take-off of the planes from two runways, a top Biman official told The Daily Star.
The planes came within a nautical mile of each other at the Doha International Airport.
A source told this correspondent that the two aircraft came so close to each other that the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), which both the planes were equipped with, was triggered in the Qatar aircraft cockpit.
A top Biman official, wishing anonymity, said the most disturbing matter was that the Biman pilot and the first officer deliberately suppressed the incident. They did not mention the incident anywhere in Doha and Dhaka.
"They were supposed to log the incident ... this is sheer negligence in carrying out their duties," he added.
After the incident, QCAA informed Biman's top officials of the matter and asked them to investigate why the pilot deviated.
In five months, QCAA wrote to Biman several times, but the emails were ignored in an apparent move to sweep the incident under the carpet, alleged several Biman insiders.
After not getting any response, QCAA in mid-June wrote to the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh asking it to look into the matter.
On the instruction of CAAB, Biman finally launched a probe.
Capt Salahuddin M Rahmatullah, head of Aircraft Accident Investigation Group, CAAB, told this paper that they have asked Biman to provide necessary information to QCAA.
An official involved in the investigation process said they were facing various difficulties in getting information as the incident happened a long time ago and there was no information in the flight data recorder (one of the so-called black boxes).
The official claimed that TCAS in the Biman aircraft did not get activated as the plane's altitude was below 700 feet.
An aviation expert told The Daily Star that the national flag carrier high-ups showed utter negligence in complying with the request of QCAA and this could even result in Biman being banned in Qatar.
Biman's Managing Director and CEO Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal, now in Saudi Arabia, did not the receive the phone call of this correspondent.
This newspaper has obtained an animated recreation of the incident, made by authorities in Qatar, that shows the Biman aircraft veering off to the right after take-off and getting into the airspace of the parallel runway and almost colliding with a Qatar Airways plane.