Bengaluru: Last weekend saw two mishaps involving commercial aircraft in Delhi and Jaipur . While no passenger or crew was hurt, the incidents added to the number of narrow escapes passengers have had from mishaps since 2014.
According to information accessed from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), there have been 52 such incidents between 2014 and May 2017. Delhi (13), Maharashtra (10) and Karnataka (10) account for 50% of these, while 15 other states together account for another 50%.
Of the 52 cases, at least 35 were “near-miss” collisions.Incidents are considered “near miss” when two aircraft are so close that could it lead to compromise in their safety in air. In one case, on March 29, 2016, all passengers on Air Mauritius flight 746 and SpiceJet flight 614 got off without realising that both aircraft came in close proximity in the Chennai International Airport airspace.
“The SpiceJet aircraft came in close proximity with landing Air Mauritius aircraft due to controller misjudgement,” a DGCA inquiry found. In another case in Delhi, a wrong descend clearance given by the controller saw two aircraft one landing and another taking off very close, while crew members of a JetLite flight not following the proper missed approach procedure put the aircraft very close to another one. Both cases were reported in February 2016.
From miscommunication to wrongly assigning instructions, there have been varied reasons for such near mishaps and the DGCA has investigated every case. A serious mishap involving a Sri Lankan Airlines aircraft, which was only avoided by a last-minute corrective measure on March 10, 2015, even prompted DGCA to issue circular asking airports to change confusing call-signs. The controller had assigned a wrong left turn to a Jet Airways flight 2764 instead of the Sri Lankan Airlines flight, which could have led to a major mishap.
From proficiency checks for pilots and Air Traffic Controllers to simulator training, the DGCA said it has put in place 11 corrective measures to prevent such incidents.