The ATSB has opened an investigation into what it describes as a serious incident involving the loss of separation between two Qantas A330s 20km west of Adelaide on September 20.
Australian Aviation understands the aircraft, A330-220s VH-EBS operating Perth-Sydney and VH-EBO operating Sydney-Perth, came within 700ft of one another vertically and 1.5nm laterally as one aircraft was cleared by air traffic control to climb through the flight level of the other.
According to the ATSB’s incident summary, VH-EBS was cruising at flight level FL390 while VH-EBO was cleared to climb from FL380 to FL400. Soon after, the controller cancelled the clearance and the aircraft descended back to FL380. The flightcrew of -EBS received a resolution advisory alert from the aircraft’s traffic collision avoidance system.
Qantas has confirmed the incident, but has denied it was a near-miss.
The air traffic controller involved in the incident has been routinely stood down while the investigation continues.