Two IndiGo flights came face-to-face in Bengaluru skies earlier this month, and a mid-air collision was narrowly avoided, news agency ANI reported on Wednesday, January 19, adding that the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has launched a probe into the same. Two domestic IndiGo flights — one from Bengaluru to Kolkata and one from Bengaluru to Bhubaneswar, took off at the same time, from Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport on January 7, and according to reports, the safety breach came to light only recently. The two flights had hundreds of passengers on board and it is believed that the two planes came very close to a mid-air collision shortly after taking off, at an altitude of over 3,000 feet in Bengaluru.
A team under DGCA Director-General Arun Kumar has been constituted for a thorough investigation. "We are investigating and shall take the strictest action against those found delinquent," Kumar told ANI. Indigo Airlines has reportedly declined to comment on the incident.
According to a report in TOI, the two flights were simultaneously cleared for take-off from Bengaluru. "On Jan 7, 2022, two IndiGo flights 6E 455 (Bengaluru-Kolkata) and 6E 246 (Bengaluru-Bhubaneswar) were involved in a breach of separation at Bengaluru airport," a DGCA official told news agency ANI.
The senior official said that the south runway of the airport was closed, but it was not communicated to the south tower controller, and so the Kolkata bound flight was given clearance to take-off. However, at the same time, the north tower controller also cleared the Bhubaneswar-bound flight for take-off “without coordination."
The flights had reached a height of 3,000 feet before a radar controller at Bengaluru airport noticed that they were on the same course. The employee alerted the two pilots, and the two aircraft quickly swerved in opposite directions to avoid a major collision, an official told TOI.
According to a preliminary report, the incident took place due to a “lack of communication between radar controllers and ATC officers at the time of the incident.” TOI reports that the incident was not reported by local authorities to the DGCA for fear of punishment.
The DGCA has launched a probe into the incident and said that appropriate action will be taken.