The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) of the federal Mobility Department has started an investigation into a serious incident in the airspace near Ghent (East Flanders) on New Year's Day.
An Egyptian cargo plane, an Airbus A300, had taken off from the regional airport of Ostend and nearly collided with an Air France passenger plane bound for Amsterdam.
The Egypt Air plane was gaining altitude as it was bound for Cologne, while the French aircraft, which had taken off near Paris, was preparing for landing.
Near miss at 22,000 feet
According to the first findings of the report, pilots of Egypt Air were ordered to stop gaining altitude three times. When both were coming closer to one another, the TCAS alert system automatically started. This activates an alarm in the cockpit, but the Egyptian crew allegedly ignored this as well.
In the end, the two were at 22,000 feet altitude approximately when the near miss took place. This happened above Lozer, south of Ghent near Kruishoutem (picture). The report is talking of "a serious incident".
The Belgian air traffic control centre Belgocontrol said it reported the incident immediately to the AAIU. Spokesman Dominique Dehaene said "traffic controllers did their job correctly."