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Two Indigo planes come ‘close’ to each other over Bengaluru airspace

The two Airbus 320 aircraft had more than 300 passengers.

July 12, 2018 08:29 pm | Updated July 13, 2018 01:34 pm IST

 Indigo operates both the aircraft.

Indigo operates both the aircraft.

Passengers of two Indigo airplanes had a close shave over the Bengaluru airspace on July 10 and an inquiry is on by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The two Airbus 320 aircraft had more than 300 passengers.

Indigo said in a press statement that their Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) resolution advisory system was triggered when a plane operating on the Coimbatore-Hyderabad route came close to another on the Bengaluru-Kochi sector.

Sources said the airplanes came within 4 nautical miles (around 7.4 km) of each other, with a vertical separation of just 200 feet. Considering the low vertical separation between them, and that on an average an aircraft cruises at over 900 kilometres per hour, it could have been a matter of a few seconds for the two planes to collide.

Bengaluru’s airspace is divided among the Kempegowda International Airport, the Yelahanka Air Force base and the HAL airport. The sources said the incident happened over the HAL airspace.

While the safe limit varied (from just 3 nautical miles near the runway of the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) to more than 10 nautical miles away from the city), for HAL, it was less than 5 nautical miles, the sources said.

Around 11 p.m., 6E 779 (Coimbatore-Hyderabad) was flying over the city and it was directed by HAL’s Air Traffic Controller (ATC) to climb to 36,000 feet.

Meanwhile, 6E 6505 (Bengaluru-Kochi) had just departed from the city. It was directed to ascend to 28,000 feet.

During this period, they came ‘close’ (in aviation terms) to each other.

Pilots alerted

"Pilots onboard both the aircraft were alerted to the presence of the other by onboard systems,” BIAL said in a statement.

Indigo said they ‘followed normal procedure’ and reported the incident to the regulator.

HAL confirmed that the incident occurred over their airspace and have sent all details to the DGCA.

A DGCA officer said that in the normal course of action, the ATC would be taken off duty, the recordings sealed and details sent to the DGCA, which would conduct a preliminary inquiry into the possible lapses. If found serious, the investigation would be handed over to the Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau.

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