Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Collision averted: ATC's 'Indian accent' confused expat pilots?

"Language issues" - where foreign pilots are unable to correctly understand instructions given by Indian air traffic controllers (ATC), thereby endangering flight safety - are back to haunt our skies.
Two expat pilots operating a Mumbai-Goa GoAir aircraft have been grounded for not following the instructions given by the Goa ATC on October 22. As a result of this misunderstanding, this Goa-bound aircraft came dangerously close to a SpiceJet plane that had just taken off from Goa and the latter had to take last-minute detour to avoid a mid-air collision.
"DGCA has begun an inquiry and both the expat GoAir pilots have been grounded," said a senior official. Sources say GoAir had wet leased this aircraft (taken an aircraft on rent with the operating crew, including pilots and cabin attendants) from a Polish company.
"There were language issues with the crew possibly not able to understand ATC instructions. The matter was compounded as Goa radar was down that affected instrument landing system. The plane had to land on manual which required more interaction with the ATC," said a source. However, the exact cause of this near-miss will be determined by the DGCA probe.
26/10/16 Saurabh Sinha/The Times Of India