For the second consecutive day, an Air India aircraft and an Indian Air Force flight came within 300 metres of colliding. The latest near-miss was over central Assam’s Jorhat town Tuesday afternoon. Over 110 passengers and crewmembers were in the two flights.
While AI and Airports Authority of India officials remained incommunicado, an officer of the Shillong-based Eastern Air Command admitted the two aircraft almost collided at an altitude of 17,000 ft.
The EAC lauded Jaydeep Banerjee, pilot of the AI flight IC-206, for skillfully lowering the altitude of the aircraft to avert the crash. “The AI aircraft was flying from Mohanbarie airport in Dibrugarh to Kolkata while IAF flight Gajraj IL-76 was travelling from Bagdogra to Jorhat. Both were at an altitude of 17,000 ft as they neared each other over Jorhat,” the officer said.
Apparently, Dibrugarh Air Traffic Control had asked AI to fly at 18,000 ft while Jorhat ATC asked IAF aircraft to maintain 19,000 ft.
The Civil Aviation ministry has ordered a probe into why neither aircraft was flying at the specified altitudes. AI has also launched a separate inquiry.