Ayupp Fact Check

New Delhi: In what could have proved to have been a major accident, Air India and Indigo Airlines flights came face to face at the runway of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI). However, a major mishap was averted due to a timely alert from the Air Traffic Controller (ATC).

The incident happened not long before Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to the airport to receive his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, who is here on a four-day visit.

The catastrophic situation was created around 11 am today when Goa-bound Air India flight number 156 was about to take off and IndiGo flight 6E-398 from Ranchi was landing on the same runway. The Air India plane had 120 people onboard and was rolling at almost 185 km per hours when it had to abort take-off to avoid colliding with the Indigo plane. The Air India flight was sent back to the terminal for rechecks of the emergency equipment before taking off for its destination.

“Delhi airport has three runways - 29, 28 and 27. Air India flight was taking off from 28 while Indigo was landing at 27. Since they are not the parallel runways, there has to be a time difference between landing and takeoff. ATC asked the AI to abort take off while Indigo was asked to go around instead of landing,” a source said. “AI 156 started to push back at 11.02am but came back to bay at 11.30am after take-off was aborted. AI 156 again pushed back at 12.50pm and took off for Goa,” the source added.

An inquiry has been initiated into the incident, which reminds of a similar incident that happened in December last year at the same airport. Even at that time a potential disaster was averted when two full to the capacity passenger aircrafts had come face-to-face barely 40 meters away on the runway.

Allegedly the situation was created due to a miscommunication from the ATC, which resulted in a departing SpiceJet flight coming face-to-face with an IndiGo Airbus A320. The accident was averted due to the alertness of the pilots who alerted the ATC and switched off their engines.  

Spread over an area of 5,106 acres, the IGI Airport is one the busiest airports in the country operating approximately 800 flights daily.

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