Details of incident between Russian flight and NATO spy plane revealed
The Russian civil aviation authority has confirmed that its air traffic control personnel had to divert the course of two aircraft to prevent them colliding with a NATO spy plane in the Black Sea region.
In a statement on Saturday, Russia’s federal air transport agency, Rosaviatsia, shed more light on an incident that had unfolded above the international waters of the Black Sea the day before.
The regulator said a NATO reconnaissance plane had been flying dangerously close to a Moscow-bound civil aircraft with more than 140 passengers on board and had repeatedly ignored attempts by air traffic control to make contact with it. Because the NATO jet’s crew had failed to respond, the passenger plane was forced instead to lose altitude.
Rosaviatsia said air traffic control had observed a NATO Bombardier CL-600 Artemis reconnaissance aircraft rapidly descending from 11,000 meters (36,000 feet) to 9,200 meters (30,200 feet) as it crossed the civil flight path in the immediate proximity of the Aeroflot SU501 flight.
Ground control was then obliged to intervene, advising the Moscow-bound aircraft and another plane, a Maltese CL-650 flying from the Russian resort city of Sochi to Skopje in North Macedonia, to change course.
“The course and the altitude of the civil aircraft were promptly changed. The measures taken by Russian air traffic controllers ensured the safety of flights in the area above the international waters of the Black Sea,” Rosaviatsia stated.
The incident was acknowledged by Russia’s flagship carrier, Aeroflot. The airline revealed that the crew of the Moscow-bound А330 had been able to see the NATO jet before they were told to change course by ground control.
Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry revealed that it had been forced to scramble an Su-27 and a Su-30 fighter jet to escort two spy planes, a CL-600 and a Boeing RC-135V Rivet Joint, away from the country’s borders.