The plane landed safely moments later, Qatar Airways told Doha News.
Dramatic pictures that emerged online on Monday showed a Qatar Airways flight being forced to avoid a balloon on its final approach to Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport in Brazil.
The pilot onboard the 777-300 flight from Doha to Sao Paulo was preparing to land at the Brazilian airport but was surprised to come face to face with the flying object.
In a statement first sent to Doha News, Qatar Airways said it “is aware of an event concerning one of its aircraft involving an unmanned balloon before landing in 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 photos of aircraft landing at the international airport at the time of the incident 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 onboard who also spoke to local news said “the balloon caught the attention of those onboard.”
A source told Doha News that the balloon was being used as part of the local Festas Juninas festival before it lifted into the air.
While plane tracking websites showed a slight nudge in its route, the plane landed safely just moments later.