DGCA Suspends ATC Staff Following Near-Miss Incident Between Two A320neos at Mumbai Airport

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation regulator, has taken decisive action following a perilous incident involving two Airbus A320neos at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai. On Saturday, these aircraft, operated by IndiGo and Air India, nearly collided, prompting an immediate response from authorities.

On Sunday, the DGCA confirmed the suspension of the air traffic control (ATC) staff who were on duty during the incident, stating they have been “derostered” while an investigation is underway. This development followed the emergence of a video on social media that captured the close call, leading to public uproar and debates over the accountability of the pilots and ATC personnel.

According to a report by Simple Flying, and further details provided by India TV News, the DGCA released a statement which underscored the seriousness of the situation. A DGCA official also confirmed that an inquiry has been launched to ascertain the root causes of this near-miss and to develop strategies to avert such incidents in the future.

The incident involved the IndiGo A320neo, registered as VT-ISV, which was in the process of landing from Indore on Runway 27 at BOM. This occurred just seconds after the Air India A320neo, with registration VT-RTS, had taken off for Thiruvananthapuram. The Aviation Herald reported that VT-ISV was approximately 1.75 nautical miles from the runway threshold and about 600 feet above the ground when VT-RTS was preparing to take off. The two aircraft came dangerously close, within about 2,130 feet (650 meters), before VT-RTS managed to climb and distance itself from VT-ISV.

Both airlines responded promptly to the situation. IndiGo confirmed that its crew had received clearance for landing and had followed all instructions from ATC, allowing them to continue their approach and land safely. Similarly, Air India stated that its flight 657 was cleared to enter the runway and proceeded with its takeoff as per standard procedures.

The incident has highlighted the critical need for stringent safety protocols and robust oversight in aviation operations, prompting the DGCA to reevaluate and enhance their preventive measures. The investigation results are awaited to provide clarity and guidance on improving safety standards to ensure such near-misses are avoided in the future.

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