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Mid-air collision between two aircraft averted at Kempegowda International Airport on January 7

Two IndiGo aircraft came close to colliding with each other mid-air while taking off from Kempegowda International Airport on January 7. File

Two IndiGo aircraft came close to colliding with each other mid-air while taking off from Kempegowda International Airport on January 7. File

Two IndiGo planes came within distance of colliding with each other while taking off from Bengaluru airport earlier this month.

The incident happened on January 7, when IndiGo flights 6E 455 departing for Kolkata, and 6E 246 departing for Bhubaneshwar, were given permission to take off at the same time.

Bengaluru airport has two parallel runways — a north runway and a south runway. One runway is used for departures and the other for arrivals. Parallel runway operations, in other words simultaneous departures from two parallel runways at an airport, are not permitted in India.

“On the morning of the incident, the north runway was being used for departures and the south runway was being used for arrivals. Later, the shift in-charge decided to close the south runway but failed to inform this to the air traffic controller in-charge of the south runway,” a senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official said.

As a result, at the time of the switch to single runway operations, the Kolkata flight was given permission to depart from the runway otherwise declared closed. At the same time, the flight bound for Bhubaneshwar was also given permission to take off from the other runway, explained a source. After take off, both planes moved in the right direction, and came within seconds of colliding with each other.

An alert radar controller saw the paths of the two aircraft converging and immediately intervened to separate the two aircraft.

The incident raises serious questions over a lack of coordination among air traffic controllers of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), as well as highlights lapses in reporting the incident to the safety regulator DGCA.

“It was during our surveillance that we came to know about the incident. AAI didn’t report the incident,” the DGCA source said.

The DGCA will be probing the incident and said the strictest punishment would be given to those found guilty.


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Printable version | May 16, 2022 10:03:52 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mid-air-collision-between-two-aircraft-averted-at-kempegowda-international-airport-on-january-7/article38290778.ece