Aviation regulator DGCA has suspended an air traffic controller for three months for approving simultaneous departures of IndiGo flights at the Bengaluru airport on January 7 that led to them coming too close just after take off. The two IndiGo flights — 6E455 (Bengaluru to Kolkata) and 6E246 (Bengaluru to Bhubaneswar) — averted a mid-air collision over the Bengaluru airport just after their simultaneous take off from north runway and south runway, respectively, on January 7 morning.
The incident was called “breach of separation”, which happens when two aircraft cross the minimum mandatory vertical or horizontal distance in the airspace.
In a statement on Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said, “South tower controller gave departure to 6E 455 in coordination with Approach Radar controller and at the same time North tower controller gave departure to 6E 246 without prior coordination with south tower controller and Approach Radar controller.”
As both aircraft after departure were on converging heading (moving towards each other), Approach Radar controller gave diverging heading to separate these aircraft, the regulator noted.
“At the closet point of conflict, the vertical and lateral separation between both aircraft was 100 feet (Standard 1000ft) and 0.9 NM (Standard 3NM),” it said.
This entire matter was classified as “serious incident” and was investigated by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), it noted.
Based on the regulatory assessment, the DGCA has decided to issue a “warning letter to Tower supervisor for not monitoring the activities of the ATC (air traffic controller) tower and non-reporting of incident”, it said.
Also, the license of the “North tower controller who was also the watch supervisory officer (WSO) of the shift” has been suspended for a period of three months as he did not follow procedures and rules regarding runway operations and he did not report the incident, the DGCA said.