Tuesday, May 31, 2022

DGCA suspends ATC who okayed IndiGo flights that came too close after take-off

New Delhi: India’s aviation safety regulator DGCA has suspended an air traffic controller for three months for approving simultaneous departures of two IndiGo flights at Bengaluru airport on January 7 — a move that led to the planes coming dangerously close to each other just after take-off.

The two IndiGo flights — 6E455 (Bengaluru to Kolkata) and 6E246 (Bengaluru to Bhubaneswar) — averted a mid-air collision over the Bengaluru airport just after their simultaneous take-off from north runway and south runway, respectively, on January 7 morning.

In a statement on Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said: “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 (moving towards each other), Approach Radar controller gave diverging heading to separate these aircraft, the regulator noted.

“At the closest point of conflict, the vertical and lateral separation between both aircraft was 100 feet (compared to a standard 1,000 feet) and 0.9 nautical miles (compared to a standard 3 nautical miles),” the DGCA stated.

This matter was classified as “serious incident” and was investigated by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB). Based on the regulatory assessment, DGCA has decided to issue a “warning letter to Tower supervisor for not monitoring the activities of the ATC (air traffic controller) tower and non-reporting of (the) incident”.

Further, the licence of the “North tower controller who was also the watch supervisory officer (WSO) of the shift” has been suspended for a period of three months as he did not follow procedures and rules regarding runway operations and he did not report the incident, the DGCA added.

31/05/22 Indian Express

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