Narrow escape for City-bound plane

Narrow escape for City-bound plane

It was a near-miss which could have taken a huge toll, and now the blame game is on between the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), a GVK-led consortium which operates the airport, and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) as well as the Indigo Airlines.

The immediate cause of the confusion was, shockingly, poor or faulty lights on the runway and the taxiway at the Mumbai airport. Jet Airways flight 9W 616, which arrived from Kolkata, was about to land on the main runway at the Mumbai airport at 9.04 pm on Wednesday. At the same time, Indigo aircraft flight 6E 415 from Mumbai to Bangalore was spotted on the same runway instead of on taxiway ‘N’ to which it was designated just before takeoff.

An alert ATC immediately asked the Jet Airways flight to abort landing and go around, so as to allow the errant Indigo aircraft time to clear the main runway for the Jet Airways flight to land.

According to MIAL, which came out with a statement on Thursday: “At around 21:04 hours (9.04 pm) yesterday, a Jet Airways flight 9W 616 while on approach to landing was asked to go around. This was to allow Indigo aircraft flight 6E 415  to cross the main runway at the intersection point. The Indigo aircraft had entered the runway instead of turning into taxiway ‘N’ as per the designated taxi instruction from ATC.”

The DGCA conducted a preliminary inquiry which found that the taxiway lights were not functioning. The report also said the pilot of the Indigo Airlines did not know that he had to take the taxiway since the lights were shut and hence went on to the live runway.

The MIAL, on its part, said it had informed the ATC about the problem of lights on the taxiway and that the ATC should have informed the pilot about the problem and guided it accordingly.

Indigo Airlines CEO Aditya Ghosh said the flight 6E 415 was instructed by the ATC to go down the second runway and then on taxiway ‘N’ and hold on for clearance for take off at the end of the main runway.

While moving down the second runway, the Indigo flight overshot the taxi way, as it was not lighted, he stated. “We never went on the live runway, we stopped short of it, and informed the ATC about it. They also confirmed that there are no lights on the taxi way...,” the Indigo chief said. The pilot of the Indigo Airlines has been derostered and a full-fledged probe has been ordered.

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