Collision between two planes averted at Mumbai airport

The DGCA said that they were investigating the incident but refrained from commenting on what was the likely cause

February 28, 2024 09:20 pm | Updated 09:31 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A senior DGCA official said that they were investigating the incident, but refrained from commenting on what was the likely cause. Image for representation. Photo: X/@CSMIA_Official

A senior DGCA official said that they were investigating the incident, but refrained from commenting on what was the likely cause. Image for representation. Photo: X/@CSMIA_Official

A major accident was averted at Mumbai airport last week after an Air Astana aircraft took a wrong turn and entered an active runway where an Air India plane was accelerating towards it for take off.

At 3 p.m., on February 22, an Airbus A320 aircraft of Air Astana was preparing for take off for Almaty when, instead of taking a taxi way parallel to the active runway to queue up behind other planes for its turn to take off, it took a wrong turn and entered a taxi way that intersected the runway under use.

At the point the Air Astana aircraft crossed the active runway, Air India’s Airbus A319 aircraft had already started to speed up for take off for its flight to Doha. After reaching a speed of 40 knots, and upon seeing another aircraft intersecting its path, the Air India aircraft retarded and rejected take off and staved off a possible collision. The Air Astana plane though continued to move on the wrong path.

At the same time, an IndiGo aircraft approaching the airport from Nagpur aborted landing and performed a go-around to make another attempt for landing, according to eye-witness and aviation photographer Aneesh Bapaye.

The incident led to a one hour delay in Air India’s departure to Doha.

A senior DGCA official said that they were investigating the incident, but refrained from commenting on what was the likely cause. Such incidents have to be reported by the airlines involved as well as the Air Traffic Controller, but according to a senior DGCA official none had done so.

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the country, and it sees between 44 to 42 aircraft movements (take off and landing) per hour. Since it has two intersecting runways, which can’t be used simultaneously, the airport sees severe congestion forcing aircraft to often hover it for 30 to 40 minutes to get a clearance for landing.

In order to help the airport deal with congestion and improve reliability of flight operations, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had asked the airport to cut two aircraft movements per hour.

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