Just two hours after the Dabolim airport mishap, a major accident was averted at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi after an IndiGo and a SpiceJet aircraft came face to face on the taxiway. The pilots spotted each other and applied the brakes.
The DGCA has ordered an investigation even as a preliminary probe revealed that confusion may have been caused by the Air Traffic Controller (ATC).
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Sources said the ATC allowed the SpiceJet aircraft, which had been waiting to take off, to return for refuelling at the same time that the IndiGo flight from Lucknow landed. The DGCA has “de-rostered” the ATC personnel involved and issued a warning to authorities.
Sources in DGCA said the SpiceJet aircraft SG-123 had waited on the runway since 6.15 am due to dense fog and finally got permission to take off at 7.15 am. “But the SpiceJet pilot informed ATC that before taking off, they wanted to refuel and was given permission.
Simultaneously, IndiGo flight 6E 769, carrying 176 passengers, landed from Lucknow,” a senior official said.
Sources said the ATC did not alert the pilots of the position of the planes. The SpiceJet aircraft turned on to the wrong taxiway due to heavy fog. “The IndiGo pilots suddenly saw the SpiceJet aircraft from a distance of 40 metres and applied the brakes,” a source said.
A spokesperson for SpiceJet said the crew “was following ATC instructions at all times”.
A spokesperson for IndiGo said: “Following SOPs, the Captain-in-Command took the decision of switching off the engine… IndiGo flight was observing ATC instructions all the time.”