How two Vistara planes came close to a disastrous accident at Delhi airport

DailyBiteAug 24, 2023 | 15:22

How two Vistara planes came close to a disastrous accident at Delhi airport

Major air accident averted at Delhi airport. Photo: Vistara

A potential aviation disaster was averted at Delhi Airport on August 23, all thanks to an alert pilot. Two Vistara planes found themselves on a collision course, both entering an active runway simultaneously. One had just landed, while the other was preparing for takeoff. The near-miss, caused by an Air Traffic Control command error, placed the lives of more than 300 passengers in jeopardy.


While one would expect flawless management of air traffic and timely emergency guidance from Air Traffic Control, in this instance, a lapse by an ATC officer imperiled the lives of hundreds.

What happened?

  • On Wednesday, around 8.30 am, a Vistara flight from Ahmedabad to Delhi landed on Runway 29L and was reportedly instructed by the ATC to cross another runway, Runway 29R.

  • At the same time, the ATC officer "momentarily forgot" about the Vistara flight from Ahmedabad crossing Runway 29R and cleared another Vistara flight from Delhi to Bagdogra for takeoff from the same runway. 
  • Fortunately, a woman pilot of the plane that landed from Ahmedabad noticed the other flight readying to take off and immediately alerted the ATC.
  • The ATC then ordered the Bagdogra-bound flight to abort takeoff. The flight then went to refuel at a parking bay. And the takeoff was delayed. 
  • DGCA has de-rostered the ATC official responsible for the error. 
  • While the Delhi-Bagdogra flight was preparing for take-off, the woman pilot of the Vistara flight that had landed spotted the former and informed the Air Traffic Control about the flight preparing to take off on a parallel runway, according to sources.
  • The take-off was aborted after instructions were received from the Air Traffic Control (ATC).
  • The planes were said to be just 1.8 km apart from each other and if the error wasn't noted in time, it could have led to deadly consequences. 

According to Delhi airport protocols, no aircraft or vehicular movement is allowed when a plane is taking off. The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is the busiest airport in India and the ATC is responsible for constant monitoring of incoming and outgoing traffic. 

Last updated: August 24, 2023 | 15:22
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