Two IndiGo flights miraculously avoided a collision after being cleared to take off simultaneously in the same direction on January 7, 2022, after which the DGCA had ordered an inquiry into the incident. As a result, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on May 30 suspended the Air Traffic Control officer`s license for a period of three months, who was involved in ‘a breach of separation’ at Bengaluru airport.
A senior DGCA official informed that the two IndiGo flights 6E 455 (Bengaluru to Kolkata) and 6E 246 (Bengaluru to Bhubaneswar) took off simultaneously from north and south Runway and were involved in a breach of separation at Bengaluru airport.
“South tower controller gave departure to 6E 455 in coordination with Approach Radar controller and at the same time, North tower controller gave departure to 6E 246 without prior coordination with south tower controller and Approach Radar controller. As both aircraft after departure were on converging heading i.e. moving towards each other,” read the statement released by DGCA.
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It further reads that the approach radar controller gave a diverging heading to separate these aircraft. At the closest point of conflict, the vertical and lateral separation between both aircraft was 100 feet (Standard 1000ft) and 0.9 NM (Standard 3NM).
The occurrence has been classified as a serious incident and is being investigated by Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB). It further reads that based on the outcome of the regulatory assessment, enforcement actions have been taken by DGCA that including a warning letter to the tower supervisor for not monitoring the activities of ATC Tower and non-reporting of the incident, ATCO license of North tower controller who was also the WSO of the shift was suspended for a period of three months.
ATCO has failed to comply with coordination procedures during the change of runway operations from segregated mode to a single mode of operations, violations of AIP India for aircraft operation, DGCA approval for Runway operations, procedures of MATS II for Runway operation and non-reporting of incident, the statement added.
(With inputs from ANI)