Mid-air collision of Indigo flights averted; DGCA to probe, assures strict action

FPJ Bureau | Updated on: Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 11:28 PM IST

File pic
File pic

New Delhi: More than four hundred lives were in jeopardy as two IndiGo planes averted mid-air collision over the Bengaluru airport just after take-off on the morning of January 9.

The radar controller saw the impending danger and took corrective actions, a preliminary report by the aviation regulator DGCA has said.

The incident was not entered in the logbook and it was not reported by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) either, sources said.

DGCA officials have revealed that the two IndiGo planes -- 6E455 (Bengaluru to Kolkata) and 6E246 (Bengaluru to Bhubaneswar) -- were involved in 'breach of separation' at Bengaluru airport.

Breach of separation happens when two aircraft cross the minimum mandatory vertical or horizontal distance in an airspace.

Both these aircraft departed from Bengaluru airport within a span of approximately 5 minutes on the morning of January 9, the officials said. The radar controller made an intervention when he noticed that both aircraft after take-off were moving towards each other.

Bengaluru airport operates two runways - north and south. On January 7 morning, flights were taking off from the north runway and landing on the south runway. On the 9th, a shift in-charge of runway operations decided to use a single runway, the north one, for both landings and take-offs, the report said. The south runway was accordingly closed, but it was not conveyed to the south tower controller.

The south tower controller allowed the flight going to Kolkata to take off. At the same time, the north tower controller also gave permission to the flight going to Bhubaneshwar to depart. The clearances by the south and north tower controllers were given without coordination, the DGCA's preliminary report said.

DGCA chief Arun Kumar told PTI that the regulator is investigating the incident "and shall take strictest action against those found delinquent".

IndiGo and the AAI did not respond to the wire agency’s request for a statement on this matter.

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Published on: Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 11:28 PM IST