Two aircraft together carrying 336 persons came with a distance of 1,800 metres after the air traffic control (ATC) gave clearance to an IndiGo plane to take off and asked a Kingfisher flight to land here on Friday evening.
Airport director Arvind Dubey has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
While Dubey could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, an ATC official played down the matter, terming it ‘routine’ and a ‘normal phenomenon’.
The incident happened at 6:47 pm, when the Mumbai-Lucknow-Patna-Kolkata-Bangalore IndiGo flight was rolling for takeoff and the Delhi-Ranchi-Patna-Delhi Kingfisher flight was on its way to land.
As soon as Kingfisher commander Capt Devendra Negi spotted the IndiGo aircraft on the runway, he started full throttle from just 50-100 feet above the runway and decided to circle the airport. The total usable runway is 1,954 metres.
Having hovered over the airport for 10-15 minutes, the flight eventually landed at 7.03 pm.
Seeing the near collision, the ATC cancelled the take-off clearance given to the IndiGo aircraft and recalled it. It was only an hour after the Kingfisher aircraft landed that the IndiGo aircraft was cleared again for takeoff.
There were 180 passengers and six crew-members on the IndiGo aircraft, while the Kingfisher plane had 144 passengers and six staffers.
The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) had last year classified Patna airport as ‘most critical’ because of obstructions on both sides of the runway. While there are tall trees of the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, a protected forest, on one segment of the runway, there is a railway cabin at the other end.