In what could have been a major disaster at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport on Monday evening, four aircrafts approached an active runway together.
Lack of co-ordination and misunderstanding led to the situation but a possible collision was averted after timely rectification of the error. There were passengers on two of the four planes, out of which one was an international flight to Dubai.
According to sources, around 7pm on Monday, a Jet Airways Boeing 737 coming from Chennai was approaching to land on the active runway at the Delhi airport. At the same time, another flight of the same airline was allegedly given the signal to approach the runway and take off. Sources said two non-scheduled flights were also going from one runway to the other at the same time.
Sources in the air traffic control (ATC) said one of the two non-scheduled flights, having call sign VT-LTA, entered the runway 28 misreading an ATC instruction sent to another plane with VT- CLA call-sign to cross the runway, as its own.
When VT-CLA, a Cessna-560 of A R Airways, was asked to vacate runway on landing, the pilot of VT-LTA (a Hawker- Beechcraft 900XP of L&T Aviation Services), which was crossing over to Terminal 1-D from Terminal-3, misread the instruction and got on to the runway.
The ATC immediately asked the pilot of the other Jet flight to abort the take-off and the commander of the descending aircraft to make a go-around as the runway was occupied, said a source.
The director general of civil aviation, Arun Mishra, told PTI that “It was not a serious incident”.
A civil aviation ministry official said the mistake was immediately noticed and the situation was managed.
According to the official, a small plane belonging to a non-scheduled operator came on the active runway at 7pm mistaking instructions that were passed on to another aircraft of a non-scheduled operator. “But everything was under control,” the official said.
When asked about the Jet Airways flight, he said it was instructed to hover in the air, which is a normal protocol.
The director-general of civil aviation has ordered a probe.