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Vic airport radio hoax a 'serious crime'

AAP logoAAP 7/11/2016 Luke Costin and Melissa Meehan

Pilots will be more alert for hoaxers masquerading as air traffic controllers after one may have forced a plane to abort its landing at Melbourne Airport.

The Australian Federal Police are probing 15 cases where illegal contact was made with aircraft at Melbourne and Avalon airports in the past month.

Australian Federation of Air Pilots safety and technical officer Captain Marcus Diamond says hoax radio calls are occasionally made at smaller airports.

But it's "another level of seriousness" when big airliners are involved.

"The main thing is that our guys would just be a little more alert about their radio call but when you're in a busy terminal area, you've got aircraft taking off, landing and two ground frequencies," he told AAP on Tuesday.

"You can't know all the voices.

"If someone knows what they're doing and knows what to say, that is - it's a very serious crime."

Lincoln Robinson has worked in the aviation industry for some years and says it's too easy to get a hold of radios capable of transmitting to aircraft.

He says the radios can control runway lighting at smaller airports while those at bigger airports peruse a wealth of data posted in real-time to flight-tracking websites.

"With all of this information combined, from being an idiot on the radio, confusing an air controller, to playing around with runway lighting and the instrument landing system and also these flight tracking websites - it's just a disaster," he told AAP.

The ABC on Monday reported a Virgin Airways flight late last month aborted its landing after pilots received an unauthorised instruction over the air traffic control.

AFP's head of crime operations, acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan, said police were treating the matter "extremely seriously" and airlines had been briefed .

"There is no current threat to the safety and security of the travelling public.... Travellers do not need to change their plans," the AFP said in a statement on Monday.

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