S7 A320 And Emirates 777-300 Lost Separation Near Rostov

On June 10, an S7 Siberia Airlines Airbus A320 performing flight number S7-2126 from Rostov-on-Don to Moscow came close to an Emirates Airlines Boeing 777-300, losing separation 130 nautical miles northeast of Rostov.

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An S7 A320 and an Emirates Boeing 777 came close to a collision near Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Photo: Getty Images

The S7 Sibir Airlines Airbus A320-200, registration VQ-BPL had been cleared by Air Traffic Control (ATC) to climb to 38,000 feet when, according to the aviation website, The Aviation Herald the incident occurred.

A trainee air traffic controller was in charge of the sector when the incident occurred

The Emirates Airlines Boeing 777-300, registration A6-EGQ operating as flight number EK-160 from Oslo Airport (OSL) to Dubai International Airport (DXB) was in the vicinity en route southbound at 37,000 feet. 

The sector both aircraft were flying in was under the control of Rostov-on-Don ATC, who had a trainee controller under supervision watching the air space.

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The Emirates Boeing 777 was flying through Russian air space en route from Oslo to Dubai.Photo: Getty Images

An experienced controller looking after the adjacent air space noticed that the two aircraft were dangerously close and notified the trainee’s supervisor. The sector controller took action, turning the Emirates jet 50 degrees to the right while telling the Sibir A320 to immediately descend to 36,000 feet while also turning 50 degrees to the right. While the aircraft implemented their emergency procedures, the controller activated a short term collision alert.

At one point the planes were just 3.8 nautical miles and 500 vertical feet apart

According to automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) transmissions, the Airbus stopped its climb at 36,775 feet and began its descent at 18:14:52Z. At this point, both aircraft were still on a collision course, just 22 nautical miles apart. A minute later, both planes reached their closest proximity with horizontal separation at only 3.8 nautical miles and a vertical separation of 500 feet.

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Before the coronavirus emergency, you could have between 8,000 and 20,000 planes in the sky at the same time. Photo: Getty Images

Russia’s Southern Transport Prosecution Office has initiated an investigation into the near-miss.

While near misses happen more often than you might think, they rarely lead to anything catastrophic. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there could be anywhere from 8,000 to 20,000 flights in the air at the same time.

What is striking about the near-miss over Russia is that there would not have been many planes in the sky. What this means is that the trainee and the person who was supposed to be watching him must not have been paying attention. 

About S7 Airlines

Headquartered in Ob, Novosibirsk Oblast, Russia, S7 Airlines is the biggest private airline in Russia with a fleet of mixed Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer aircraft for a total of 101 planes. S7 was also the first Russian airline to receive delivery of the Boeing 737 MAX in the fall of 2018. S7 Airlines is also a member of the oneworld alliance flying to 181 cities in 26 countries around the globe.

Have you ever been on a plane that had to make an emergency maneuver to avoid a collision? If so, we would love to read all about it in the comments.