NERVE-SHREDDING pics show Qatar Airways flight DODGING a hot air balloon before landing safely
On its final approach to São Paulo, Brazil, a Qatar Airways flight was forced to avoid a hot air balloon that had drifted into its flight path. The aircraft, which had departed from Doha and was getting ready to land at Guarulhos Airport on July 3, avoided the unmanned balloon and made a safe landing on Sunday morning.
The incident was captured on camera by a ground photographer and a passenger, who showed how the Boeing 777-300 swerved the balloon, which looked to be carrying an advertisement banner. The airline told Doha News, "Qatar Airways is aware of an event concerning one of its aircraft, involving an unmanned balloon, before landing at São Paulo on Sunday 3 July. The flight landed as normal and safety margins were maintained at all times. The captain filed a report following the flight which is now being investigated by the Brazilian authorities."
Rafael Freitas, who was taking pictures of the airplane landing, told local news that “the Boeing 777 came in a little misaligned with the runway to avoid the balloon. When it had passed the balloon, it turned to correct its alignment.” A passenger on the flight who took a picture of the balloon passing very close by one of the aircraft’s wings also told local media that ‘the balloon caught the attention of those on board.’
Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300 (A7-BEV, built 2018) was forced to make an evasive maneuver on final approach to Sao Paulo-Guarulhos Intl (SBGR), Brazil, when an unmanned hot air-balloon drifted into the approach path. Flight #QR779 from Doha landed safely. https://t.co/z0waOu7fuQ pic.twitter.com/8nOtN163mV— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) July 3, 2022
The plane made a short rightward detour as it approached Guarulhos airport, according to data from the flight tracking website Flightradar24. If the balloon had approached the plane too closely, it might have entered the engines and possibly resulted in a major accident, said reports.
However, this is not the first time a balloon has caused problems for a commercial aircraft. On December 31, 2020, an Airbus A319 belonging to Avianca hit a balloon full of New Year’s Eve streamers as it was landing at Bogotá International Airport (BOG), Colombia. Fortunately, the crew was able to land the plane without accident.
Earlier today, a Boeing 777 of Qatar Airways (Reg. A7-BEV), avoided a small balloon while on final approach to Guarulhos Airport, in São Paulo, #Brazil. The jetliner was able to land without any problems. (Photo by Rafael Freitas.) pic.twitter.com/Hi4w4Z7Qou— The Latin American Aviation Historical Society (@The_LAAHS) July 4, 2022
Meanwhile, such balloons are prohibited in Brazil, but according to a source who spoke to Doha News, this specific balloon was being used as part of the neighborhood Festas Juninas festival, a month-long celebration that takes place in June at the start of the Brazilian winter. It is not known who was responsible for the balloon floating in the skies over Guarulhos. According to Doha News, currently two daily flights are now offered by Qatar Airways from Doha to São Paulo Guarulhos, each being flown by one of the airline's 52 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Depending on the two-class layout, this aircraft can accommodate up to 412 passengers. The airline revealed in May that during the FIFA World Cup, it would increase the frequency of its flights to São Paulo to three per day.