Qatar Airways 777 avoids collision with hot air balloon landing in São Paulo

Robert Buchel / Shutterstock

A Qatar Airways Boeing 777 wide-body jet was involved in an unusual incident while performing a flight between Doha in Qatar and São Paulo in Brazil. The passenger aircraft was forced to make an evasive maneuver to avoid collision with an unmanned hot air balloon. 

The incident happened on July 3, 2022, when a Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300 aircraft, registered A7-BEV, was performing a regular scheduled long-haul passenger flight QR779. According to the flight history found on, the plane departed from Hamad International Airport (DOH) at 2:46 a.m. (UTC) and was scheduled to touch down at São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) in Brazil at 10 a.m. (UTC) but was disrupted due to the peculiar event.  

The aircraft was on approach to the airport of arrival when a hot air balloon drifted into the plane’s flight path. Noticing the object, the pilots made evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision. Luckily, this was successful and when the jet passed the balloon it returned to its correct alignment.   

The plane landed at GRU airport safely at 10:16 a.m. (UTC), experiencing a minor delay of 16 minutes.  

However, if the aircraft had hit the balloon, it could have been ingested by the plane’s engine, causing major damage and could have even resulted in a serious incident. 


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