The Directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), probing into the near collision between an Air India flight and an Air Force chopper part of the President’s convoy at the Mumbai airport, de-rostered two Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials on Tuesday.
Sources said radar controller Mandeep Singh and tower controller G. Murli, who were on duty at the time of the incident, have been relieved from duty till the probe is completed. On Monday, M.S. Kohli, pilot of the Delhi-bound Air India flight carrying 150 people, was about to exert full throttle for a take-off he found the chopper in the middle of the main runway on domestic terminal 1-A.
Kohli applied emergency brakes, which led to a tyre burst. The aircraft skidded 100 metres before it screeched to a halt on the runway, just 100 metres away from the chopper.
Maushumi Chakravarthy, spokesperson of the civil aviation ministry, said: “As per standard DGCA procedure, two ATC officials have been de-rostered for the period of investigation.”
The radar controller monitors an aircraft from the time it starts taxiing down till it finally takes off. Then the tower controller takes over and monitors the aircraft for around 5 nautical miles.
Director General Nasim Zaidi said: “Investigating officer in the case A.K. Chopra is in Mumbai. We hope to complete the probe in a couple of days.”
Sources said that as per standard procedure, the Air India pilot and the pilot of the Air Force chopper should have been also grounded till the completion of the inquiry.”
“The goof-up happened between the ATC and the two pilots. Ideally all parties concerned should be relieved of duty till the period of investigation,” said a senior DGCA official requesting anonymity.