Prompt action from Mumbai airport’s air traffic control (ATC) averted what could have been a close shave for two flights on Thursday night.
A Kingfisher flight from Delhi with 165 passengers aborted landing at the Mumbai airport after the ATC spotted a Chennai-bound SpiceJet flight on the same runway. The Kingfisher flight was told to abort landing well in advance and circle above the airport.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will conduct a routine enquiry into the incident, but air safety officials ruled out a possible collision because a safe distance of 2 nautical miles separated the flights when the ATC asked the King-fisher flight to abort landing.
“The go-around was ordered as per the standard operating procedure. This is not a near miss,” said a senior DGCA official requesting anonymity.
The incident occurred at 9.45 pm when the flight arrival traffic is at its peak. About 700 feet from touchdown, the Kingfisher flight IT 318 aborted landing and hovered above the airport for 25 minutes more.
An airport official told Hindustan Times that the Spicejet flight had been cleared for take-off but aborted it after the pilot could not hear a particular sound that the aircraft makes when the engine is switched on. The aircraft, carrying 109 passengers, soon vacated the runway. The flight was originally scheduled to leave at 8.50 pm but took off at 11.58 pm.
Earlier this week, the DGCA had issued a circular stating that a go-around (when a pilot aborts landing and circles above airport) is a safe option if the approach path of an aircraft is not clear.