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Statement by the Civil Aviation Directorate of The Republic of Serbia
On Monday 28 December 2009, somewhat after 12.00 hours, within the airspace of the Republic of Serbia, a loss of separation between French aircraft A318, AFR286J flying from Paris to Sofia and Israel Boeing777, ELY007 flying from Tel Aviv to New York occurred.
The air traffic control sent the information on the occurrence to the Serbian aviation authority which reacted instantly by instigating and carrying out the inspection. Having made a complete insight into the video and audio recording of the mentioned occurrence, the inspector from the Civil Aviation Directorate of the Republic of Serbia reached an ambiguous conclusion that the flight crew of the French airliner failed to observe the instructions given by the air traffic control.
The instructions given by the radar controller of the Belgrade Area Control Centre were correct and fully compliant with the rules of the separation minima. The flight crew members of the French aircraft correctly repeated the requested instruction to descend on 35000 feet (10.650 m), but for the unknown reason it continued descending below the requested and approved altitude. It was only after the timely intervention by the radar controller that the flight crew of the French aircraft stopped its descend on 34700 feet (10.559 m), which is 300 feet below the given altitude, at the moment when the Israeli Boeing was 3,5 nautical miles away, on the altitude of 34000 feet (10.346 m).
The Civil Aviation Directorate has promptly informed both the French and Israeli civil aviation authorities on the mentioned occurrence and the inspection findings on the involved aircraft.