As confirmed by Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Thursday, two Indigo planes came extremely close for comfort before averting a mid-air collision at border airspace of India and Bangladesh.
The Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower in Kolkata instructed one plane to turn right and move away from the other aircraft within just 45 seconds before the possible collision.
A senior AAI official at the Kolkata airport told PTI,
“Both the aircraft, belonging to low cost carrier IndiGo, had come on the same level on Wednesday evening and posed a threat to both the aeroplanes.”
“One aircraft was going to Guwahati from Chennai and the other from Guwahati to Kolkata. The planes had come close to each other around 5.10 pm,” he said.
The Kolkata bound flight was at 36,000 ft in Bangladesh airspace and the other aircraft was at 35,000 ft, both at the same time. While the Bangladesh ATC had instructed the Kolkata-bound flight to descend to 35,000 ft and the aircraft followed the order, it came extremely close to the aircraft which was flying at 35,000 ft.
Applying presence of mind, an ATC official in Kolkata immediately ordered the Chennai-Guwahati flight to turn right and move away from the path of the descending aircraft, to avert a disaster. He said,
“We have no such information as of now,” an IndiGo spokesperson told PTI when contacted.
Another AAI officer said that the matter will be investigated as per standard operating procedure. The investigation will also probe whether the Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) or the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) had alerted the pilots or not.
As per regular practice, the standard separation gap, both vertically and laterally between the aircrafts should be a minimum of 1000 ft.
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