Malaysia Airlines announced Sunday it had launched an investigation after one of its aircraft followed a wrong route while on its way from Auckland, New Zealand, to Kuala Lumpur. The latest incident comes almost two years after the troubled airline's Flight MH370, from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, went missing under mysterious circumstances.
In a statement issued late Sunday, Malaysia Airlines confirmed that it had "inadvertently" given different flight plans to the air crew and Auckland's Air Traffic Control center. Airways, a company that manages air traffic control for New Zealand and South Pacific, was given an older flight path.
“On December 24th 2015 our flight MH132 from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur was given the latest flight plan by the airline's Operations Dispatch Centre (ODC) whilst Auckland's Air Traffic Control (ATC) was inadvertently given an earlier flight plan,” Malaysia Airlines said in the statement. “Both routes were following an approved flight path and the aircraft had enough fuel for both routes. The safety of both passengers and crew were never compromised at any time.
“Malaysia Airlines is currently conducting its investigation in the flight plan submission. Safety is of the utmost priority for Malaysia Airlines and it adheres very strictly to all safety procedures and processes,” the statement continued.
According to reports, the Airbus A330 pilot realized that the plane was headed further south than expected eight minutes into the flight. The plane was reportedly travelling towards Melbourne, Australia, instead of Kuala Lumpur.
Airways said it would “work closely” with Malaysia Airlines to determine how the confusion occurred, according to the Malaysian Insider.
Malaysia Airlines has been working to rebuild its brand following two disasters in 2014.
In March 2014, Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board and its fate remains unclear despite a several months-long, multimillion-dollar international search. Last week, authorities claimed that the underwater search for the plane in the southern Indian Ocean was expected to conclude in June 2016.
In another incident, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board.