Egypt denies EgyptAir pilot contacted control centre, says plane did not deviate

Ahram Online , Monday 23 May 2016

Egypt's National Air Navigation Services Company issued a statement to respond to media reports saying that EgyptAir pilot contacted the control centre

EgyptAir flight (Photo: Reuters)

National Air Navigation Services Company administrative board chairman Mohi El-Din Azmi denied late Sunday media reports that the pilot of the crashed EgyptAir MS804 contacted Egypt's control centre, in a statement published by Al-Ahram newspaper.

Foreign media reports on Sunday said the pilot spoke with Cairo's traffic control centre for a few minutes saying there was smoke in the aircraft and that he would make an emergency descent, before the plane disappeared from the radar. 

The Egyptian armed forces said on Thursday that no distress signal was received from the plane.

Last contact

Egypt's National Air Navigation Services company said in Sunday's statement the plane was spotted on the radar on the border point between Egyptian and Greek airspace (KUMBI point), 260 nautical miles from Cairo, according to Azmi.

The last contact with the plane was at 2:30am Cairo time, Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said in a Thursday press conference

Egyptian authorities tried to contact the flight again at 2:50am without any response, Fathy said.

According to a Greek civil aviation department timeline published on Thursday, the flight was transferred to the next air traffic control centre and was cleared to exit from Greek airspace at 2:48am Cairo time.

Flight path

Azmi said on Sunday that the plane was at an altitude of 37,000 feet within the flight path, without any deviation, and that it disappeared from the radar screens less than a minute after it entered the Egyptian airspace.

Greece had said the aircraft "made swerves and a descent" after it entered Cairo FIR (flight information region).

"... immediately after it entered Cairo FIR and made swerves and a descent I describe; 90 degrees left and then 360 degrees to the right," Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said on Thursday.

Azmi said the air traffic control centre was assisted by airplanes that were in the surroundings of EgyptAir flight MS804 which called for it and offered any information about it and that the search and rescue units were then notified.

He added that all legal procedures were taken by the company to seize the aircraft's recordings.


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