Close Call at Mumbai Airport as IndiGo and Air India Flights Narrowly Avoid Collision

A frightening incident unfolded at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on June 8, as an Air India plane taking off came dangerously close to an IndiGo aircraft landing on the same runway. The near-miss involving hundreds of passengers has sparked significant concerns over air traffic safety standards and has been widely reported by NDTV and various social media platforms.

The disturbing incident occurred when Air India’s flight AI657, en route from Mumbai to Trivandrum, was cleared for takeoff by Air Traffic Control (ATC). At the exact moment, an IndiGo flight 6E 6053 from Indore was also cleared to land on the very same runway. The sequence of events saw the IndiGo aircraft landing mere seconds after the Air India plane began its takeoff roll, a situation that could have easily resulted in a catastrophic accident had timing been slightly off.

A video capturing the incident has since gone viral, showing both aircraft on the same runway in close proximity. The footage has further fueled public anxiety and demands for accountability and improved safety protocols at one of India’s busiest airports.

In response to this alarming event, authorities have moved quickly. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the apex regulatory body responsible for overseeing aviation safety in India, has launched an immediate investigation. A spokesperson for DGCA confirmed that an ATC professional has been derostered pending the results of the inquiry, indicating the severity with which the incident is being treated. “Safety of passengers is our top priority, and we are looking into this matter with the utmost seriousness,” the DGCA spokesperson said.

Social media platforms ignited with reactions, emphasizing the critical lapse in air traffic management. One concerned user on Twitter highlighted the potential risk, stating, “Serious security concern at @CSMIA_Official Mumbai Airport yesterday putting 100s of life at risk. While @airindia was in the process of takeoff, another from @IndiGo6E was allowed to land on the same runway @DGCAIndia takes action against #Mumbai ATC official responsible.”

Both airlines involved have issued statements attempting to clarify their positions and assure the public of their commitment to safety. IndiGo affirmed that they were following ATC instructions. Their statement read: “On June 8, 2024, IndiGo flight 6E 6053 from Indore was given landing clearance by ATC at Mumbai Airport.

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. The Pilot in Command continued the approach and landing and followed ATC instructions. At IndiGo, passenger safety is paramount to us, and we have reported the incident as per procedure.”

Similarly, Air India echoed IndiGo’s position and elaborated on their adherence to ATC directions. “AI657 from Mumbai to Trivandrum was on takeoff roll on June 8. The Air India aircraft was cleared by Air Traffic Control to enter the runway and subsequently cleared for takeoff. The Air India aircraft continued with the takeoff movement in accordance with laid down procedures. An investigation has been initiated by the authorities to find out more on the clearance given to the airlines,” Air India stated.

The gravity of the situation underscores the essential role of ATC in ensuring the safe coordination of aircraft movements. Any failure in this critical component of aviation operation can potentially lead to dire consequences. The rapid investigation initiated by DGCA aims to unearth the root cause and assess whether systemic issues within the ATC operations need to be addressed urgently.

Public trust in aviation safety is paramount, and incidents like these put a spotlight on the robustness of current safety protocols. It raises pertinent questions about whether enough measures and redundancies are in place to prevent such near-misses. The aviation community and regulatory authorities must act decisively to bolster the safety framework and reassure the traveling public that such incidents will be thoroughly scrutinized and adequately addressed.

In the longer term, this close call might act as a catalyst for reviewing and potentially overhauling air traffic management and coordination systems at airports across the country. While the swift response from DGCA is reassuring, the pressure is on Indian aviation authorities to not only determine the cause of this specific incident but also to implement measures to prevent recurrence.

For now, passengers at Mumbai airport and across India are closely monitoring the outcome of this investigation, hoping for comprehensive action that reinforces safety norms and restores confidence in the nation’s aviation system.