India like China have the largest global aviation growth and for India its beginning to tell in the skies as congestion is increasing on a monthly basis. So its not a suprise that two IndiGo regional flights narrowly escaped a mid-air collision over Bengaluru airspace in southern India late on July 10, 2018. Together, the two aircraft – both Airbus passenger jets – were carrying 328 passengers onboard, all of whom later landed and deplaned safely.
The two IndiGo aircraft were operating on Coimbatore-Hyderabad and Bengaluru-Cochin routes, when they came dangerously close to each other over Bengaluru airspace triggering collision avoidance alarms.
IndiGo Flight 6E779 took off from Coimbatore International Airport (CJB) at 10:44 pm and was headed for Hyderabad Rajic Gandhi international Airport (HYD).
The other IndiGo plane, Flight 6E6505, took off from Bengaluru International Airport (BLR) at 8:46 pm and was headed for Cochin International Airport (COK).
The Hyderabad-bound plane – an Airbus A320 – was carrying 162 passengers onboard, the other – an A320neo – was carrying 166 passengers.
According to The Economic Times of India, at one point, Flight 6E779 was flying at 27,300 feet while Flight 6E6505 – at 27,500 feet. The Air Traffic Control (ATC) then reportedly asked Flight 6E779 to climb to 36,000 feet and Flight 6E6505 to climb to 28,000 feet.
“The aircraft were hardly 4 miles from each other while the Vertical separation was just 200 feet triggering Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) on both the aircraft,” one source was quoted as saying by The Economic Times.
Both IndiGo and the Bangalore International Airport have confirmed the incident, India’s PTI News reports.
According to the statement by the airline’s spokesperson, “The TCAS-Resolution Advisory system was triggered on two of our aircraft operating Coimbatore-Hyderabad and Bengaluru-Cochin routes, respectively, on July 10, 2018.”
The spokesperson added that the incident has been reported to The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation regulator.
In a separate statement, the spokesperson for the Bangalore International Airport confirmed that an incident involving two A320 aircraft operated by IndiGo occurred in South Indian airspace on July 10 some distance away from the hub.
“The aircraft were routing Coimbatore-Hyderabad and Bangalore-Cochin respectively at an altitude in excess of 27,000 ft,” the spokesperson said in the statement.
“Pilots on board both aircraft were alerted to the presence of the other by on-board systems and, subsequently reported the occurrence to the DGCA in accordance with standard operating procedures,” the spokesperson added.
India’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) has since launched an investigation into the incident, according to The Economic Times.
IndiGo is India’s largest passenger airline, and this is not the first time such incident occurs involving the low-cost carrier. In May 2018, an IndiGo aircraft operating on the Visakhapatnam-Bengaluru route came dangerously close to an Indian Air Force jet over the Chennai airspace.
The two aircraft were at an altitude of 24,000 feet, the IndiGo plane – also an A320 – was on the climb. They were just 300 feet away from each other at the time of the incident.